Adorable hedgehogs get winter cheer with comfy leafy homes after council bans leaf raking
Wrocław’s hedgehogs can now stay safe and warm at nights this winter after city authorities banned raking leaves in public spaces, leaving them as comfy hideouts for the spiny mammals.
The new regulations concerning the upkeep of the city’s green areas were introduced on October 25th, the focus being on the good of the urban ecosystem and the animals who live alongside humans.
Wrocław’s Deputy President Adam Zawada announced that leaves falling from trees and shrubs will remain untouched in many areas, indicated by special signs.
He said: “This may cause concern among residents, but it is very important to implement these new standards boldly and intensively.
“Parks such as Staszic Park and Wrocław South Park are intensively maintained in terms of mowing and raking leaves.
“We also have parks such as the Millennium Park, which is in fact a naturally growing forest. There, the biodiversity is much greater and we do not mow or rake leaves.”
The raking ban isn’t the first pro-hedgehog initiative in Wrocław.
Piotr Gleńsk, who by day is a regular employee of the Tauron corporation and by night (or simply after work) a hedgehog saviour, has helped release five young hedgehogs into Wrocław’s Millennium Park.
Maja, Gucio, Tekla, Aleksander and Filip were found by the kind-hearted man from Radlin, who fostered them until they were ready to walk on their own.
On October 27th Gleńsk wrote on Facebook: “The hedgehogs got a large, half-barrel shaped house, very solid. On 19-10-2019 the feeder was destroyed by wild boars but it fulfilled its function.
“The hedgehogs have been fed for a month, now they are large and strong and will definitely survive winter.”
This isn’t the first time Gleńsk has taken care of such prickly charges.
Since finding an ill hedgehog in his garden and failing to save him five years ago, he has run a home hedgehog asylum, where he accepts small, abandoned or wounded animals.
In cooperation with vets, Gleńsk takes care of the hedgehogs and once they are strong enough, he sets them free in parks or forests. If that wasn’t enough, Gleńsk designs and builds special houses for them.
Others are following suit. One such example is Wrocław’s Biskupin - Sępolno - Dąbie – Bartoszowice neighbourhood.
Apart from leaving the leaves, they introduced new road signs, warning the drivers to slow down in hedgehog-frequented areas. Many animals die on the roads and the estate’s council hopes to counter the situation.
The Council wrote: “Remember to watch out for them, especially in Spring and Autumn. Hedgehogs are currently preparing for winter. Hence, more of their wanderings.
“It is worth leaving a pile of leaves in the garden. It's free, and you can easily help the animals in Winter.
“Under no circumstances should you burn piles of leaves! In addition to the stench and fire hazard, you can burn living animal!”