Hedgehog rescuers in Preston have warned that the spiny mammals could vanish from the UK in two years.
Steve Whalley, who established Preston Hedgehog Rescue, says if the rate of decline that hedgehogs are experiencing continues they will be lost within the next two years.
He said: “This year if it continues for two more concurrent years nationally hedgehogs will become extinct.
“They will get to the stage where they cannot recoup.
“We are answering 10-25 calls in a day which means we see about 10 hedgehogs each day.
“Sometimes we can find a full nest with four or five babies. Every single hedgehog we are losing is a piece of a jigsaw we are not going to be able to get back.”
Steve could not hide his frustration with Preston City Council adding: “They have granted so much planning permission for developments recently.”
He says that the centre now has at least 100 babies which are being fed up in order to release them into the wild again.
Steve is appealing for people to donate to support feeding the babies, help with veterinary costs and fund research into the animals.
“At the moment we are really critical,” he said. “We will keep the babies for eight to 12 weeks. They will come in at 100 grams but we can’t release them until they are 400 or 500 grams.
“It’s getting awfully expensive.
“Rescue centres are having to shut their doors because they can’t cope with the influx. It’s a nationwide problem.
“The vets are really good in Preston. They will treat them and triage them. But if someone brings us a hedgehog and it’s got an amputated leg euthanising it can cost up to £150.
“We are really on the bread line.”