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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 22:47 GMT
Celebrities bid to save hedgehogs
Brian May
Brian May is among the celebrities calling for the cull to end
Celebrities including Brian May, Joanna Lumley and Carla Lane are calling on Scottish Natural Heritage to end its cull of hedgehogs on the Uist islands.

SNH is due to discuss a proposal from its scientific officers to end the cull in favour of relocating the hedgehogs to the mainland.

Uist Hedgehog Rescue has opposed the killing of the animals since SNH announced its lethal policy in 2002.

The cull aimed to improve the breeding success of ground-nesting birds.

Over the last four years UHR has rescued and relocated 756 hedgehogs, while 658 have been culled so far.

The future of the hedgehogs on the Uists now hangs in the balance
Ross Minett
Uist Hedgehog Rescue

Other personalities who have written to SNH asking it to stop the cull include actress and Born Free Foundation founder Virginia McKenna, actress Jenny Seagrove, actor John Challis and the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton.

The Scottish SPCA last week announced that it had changed its policy and now supports UHR in calling for an end to the cull.

This followed new scientific research which showed that the relocation of hedgehogs from the Uists to mainland Scotland is humane.

The Uist Wader Project (UWP), consisting of SNH, the Scottish Executive and RSPB Scotland, has been killing hedgehogs on the islands since 2003 in an attempt to improve the breeding success of ground-nesting birds.

A total of 658 hedgehogs have been killed and 756 saved

Uist Hedgehog Rescue spokesman Ross Minett said: "We are delighted to have such well-known and respected personalities supporting our call for an end to the cull of hedgehogs on the Uists.

"The future of the hedgehogs on the Uists now hangs in the balance.

"However, we are hopeful that SNH's board will follow the recommendation of its scientific officers and agree to end the cull in favour of translocation to the mainland.

"We believe that scientific research and decades of practical experience have shown that translocation is the humane and ethical solution to this problem."

A number of animal groups have also called for an end to the cull.

Ending in sight for hedgehog cull
19 Feb 07 |  Science/Nature
Proposal could halt hedgehog cull
14 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Call to spike Uists hedgehog cull
09 Jan 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Hedgehog numbers 'in nose-dive'
30 Jun 05 |  Science/Nature
Hedgehog cull attempt begins
07 Apr 03 |  Scotland


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