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'Destructive' predator the hedgehog on Auckland Council’s hit list

Auckland Council sees hedgehogs as a pest. 

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The council says it’s seeing fewer of the creatures and it’s happy about it too. Source: Seven Sharp

Along with rats, stoats, possums and other critters, they're on the organisation's hit list. 

"They're actually a very destructive predator and a pest that we really need to get rid of," the council's Tim Lovegrove told Seven Sharp. 

In the South Island, in the braided rivers where the banded dotterels breed, hedgehogs are responsible for eating 20 per cent, if not 70 per cent, of dotterel eggs are taken by hedgehogs.

Lovegrove said hedgehogs are also competing with native wildlife, including kiwi, for food. 

He told Seven Sharp reporter Mary-Jane Aggett he would not be sad to see them all go. 

"They belong in the British Isles."

Setting tracking tunnels in the bush, he was pleased hedgehog numbers were down.

"Just in the last couple of years I think the dry summer's we're having have knocked them for a six.

"I haven't tracked a hedgehog here for two years now, so the numbers have really dropped away and that's just through these dry seasons."

He wanted people not to encourage them into their garden and if they were into trapping pests, to set a trap. 

But not all those share his, or the council's view. 

Julie Wilson has been running an A&E for hedgehogs on Auckland's North Shore for 12 years. 

Like other rescuers, she only deals with sick or injured hedgehogs.

She saves about 80 per cent which come in.

"I give it a jolly good shot," she said.

"I don't like to see an animal suffering. I think if I can help, I can't pass them by, because if I say no, I know they'll have a horrific death."