have a garden have done something to attract more wildlife into it. This figure rises to 79% for people who have had a garden for more than three years. Of the results, which revealed that 40% of people have specifically planted wildlife-friendly plants in their garden, 22% have left decaying wood to create a habitat for wildlife, 28% have put out bird boxes, and 25% have made a compost heap, RHS chief horticulturist Guy Barter said: “We’re no longer a nation of gardeners, we’re a nation of wildlife gardeners. These results show that supporting wildlife in our outside spaces is really important to many of us.”

A Meanwhile, wildlife product 16 DIY WEEK 12 OCTOBER 2018

survey published by

the Royal

Horticultural Society in June this year found that 77% of people who

earlier year by the

As the British public demonstrates a willingness to tune back into nature, the garden industry has observed an increased interest in engaging with wildlife in the garden – creating opportunities for retailers and suppliers alike. Fiona Garcia finds out more.

manufacturer Wildlife World says it is also benefitting from what it describes as “the rapidly-growing environmentally-conscious, wildlife consumer trend” and reported a 60% uplift in new enquiries at Glee last month, adding that this year’s show was its “best yet”. Many firms attribute the growing

interest amongst the public in caring for Britain’s wildlife to a greater awareness of the plight of some species but they feel there is


more education needed amongst gardeners in order to benefit nature, and to also help retailers selling wildlife products to make the most of the category. According to a report published this

Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS)

and People’s Trust

British for

Endangered Species (PTES), native hedgehog numbers have plummeted by at least half in the UK since 2000. Stories like this being picked up by

the media have helped to raise the profile of animals, like hedgehogs, and encourage gardeners to invest in hedgehog homes, food and other associated products, in order to support the species. All good news for the sector but wildlife food producer, Brambles Pet and Wildlife stresses the importance of making sure people are feeding these animals correctly and not doing more damage.

The company explains that many people are still feeding hedgehogs inappropriate

foods, such as

mealworms, peanuts and sunflower hearts, which have been linked to Metabolic Bone Disease due to high phosphorus levels. Peanuts and seeds can also get lodged in-between teeth and cause dental issues, which have been reported at wildlife rescue centres. Brambles sales director David Tracey says he has heard of cases of hedgehogs being admitted with huge abscesses on their gums, which

left them unable to eat. Brambles managing director and biological scientist Gail Tracey explains: “It’s great that people want to help but sometimes they are doing more harm than good.” She adds that a good- quality hedgehog food, “is all that’s required to supplement a hedgehog’s diet, along with fresh water”. Other foods people should avoid feeding hedgehogs are those with added sugars, honey and dried fruit, which has very high concentrations of sugar. Mr Tracey says the hedgehogs may find these foods very palatable because of the sugar content, so people continue to put them out, but they are not beneficial to hedgehogs and can lead to dental and cardiovascular issues. He

adds: “Leading wildlife

hospitals are trying to educate the public about what to feed and what not to feed hedgehogs, which is great, but we still need to do more to get the message across.”

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