Lessons in caring for wildlife after two boys kicked hedgehog to death in Sunderland
A £1,000 reward offered after a hedgehog was kicked to death has been used to teach children how to help the animals.
On November 7 two boys aged 14 and 11, were convicted of for causing injury to the hedgehog in Southwick, along with four other wildlife offences.
The pair inflicted fatal injuries on the helpless creature, called ‘Little Man’ by neighbours. He was consequently put to sleep.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society had offered the reward to anyone with information leading to a successful prosecution. But police had already identified the culprits.
So wildlife officer PC Peter Baker asked the charity to put money towards a number of hibernation pods, which can be used to help educate school children about hedgehogs.
He ran a workshop at Southwick Primary School with the help of hedgehog expert Bernie Carre.
She met the children, who held a hedgehog and learned the importance of animals and what to do if they see injured creatures.
PC Baker said: “As you would expect, there was a lot of public outrage when the crime against the hedgehog came to light and the two offenders will now be dealt with by the youth offending team.
“But what’s really important is that a positive has come following that awful case. The reward money offered by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society has now been used to help educate children about these animals and preserve them for years to come.
“The kids at Southwick Primary School absolutely loved meeting the hedgehog and learning all about them. We also donated a hibernation pod to the school, which will help animals stay safe and not be subjected to attacks.
“Education is the key and we’ll be looking to go into more schools in the coming months to help spread the word.”
Southwick’s deputy head, Helen Ellison, said: “The children responded brilliantly to the lesson and loved holding the hedgehog. I’d like to thank PC Baker and Bernie for taking their time to come in and help raise awareness of a very important subject.”
Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is sending education materials to primary schools in Sunderland. For a free humane education pack, visit PETA.org.uk.