Page last updated at 00:28 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 01:28 UK

Hedgehog trapping season starts

Hedgehogs are trapped in autumn for welfare reasons

Twelve trappers have resumed catching hedgehogs on the Western Isles for relocation to the mainland.

The hedgehogs, which are not native to the islands, have been blamed for preying on the eggs of birds such as dunlin and ringed plover.

This is the sixth year of trapping, which is done in autumn for welfare reasons including avoiding newborn hedgehogs and the start of hibernation.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is leading the project.

Hundreds of traps will be set on North Uist and Benbecula.

Uist Hedgehog Rescue care for all hedgehogs caught before they are transported to Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust in Ayr.

After health checks, they are released mostly in south west and central Scotland.

A cull of hedgehogs was originally started to protect the wading birds.

SNH had previously said hedgehogs would not survive relocation.

However, animal welfare campaigners began their own programme of trapping and transporting the hedgehogs.

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