11 years ago



The hedgehog should become the UK’s national wildlife icon, so says the results of a poll carried out by BBC Wildlife Magazine, one of the world’s most prestigious natural history titles, published today [31 July 2013].

Winning 42% of the 9,108 votes cast, the prickly insectivore was placed ahead of the badger, which took almost 24% of the vote and the oak tree, which took 10% of the vote.

 Ben Hoare, Features Editor of ‘BBC Wildlife Magazine’, commented:

It seemed curious to us that a country of nature lovers, gardeners and ramblers should not have a wild animal or plant emblem to call its own. We think our readers have picked an admirable national wildlife icon for Britain in the hedgehog. These spiny wonders gobble up garden pests and become incredibly tame – you won’t find anyone with a bad word to say about Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.”

The public poll to find a wildlife icon was launched as part of celebrations to mark ‘BBC Wildlife Magazine’s’ 50th anniversary. Unlike many other countries around the world, the UK has never had a national plant or animal to call its own. In the title’s June 2013 issue, ‘BBC Wildlife Magazine’ asked 10 leading conservation charities to nominate the species they believed should be the UK’s national species and invited readers and members of the public to vote for their favourite.

Ann Widdecombe, one of the hedgehog’s highest-profile champions and patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, said:

“I’m over the moon that the hedgehog came top in the ‘BBC Wildlife Magazine’ poll. It is a quintessentially British creature.” But she added: “We all need to rally to help the species, which is declining at an alarming rate.”

The top 10 candidates for a national species for Great Britain, according to ‘BBC Wildlife Magazine’, are:

1 Hedgehog – 3,849 votes [42.2%]
Championed by: British Hedgehog Preservation Society

2 Badger – 2,157 votes [23.6%]
Championed by: Badger Trust

3 Oak tree – 950 votes [10.4%]
Championed by: Woodland Trust

4 Red squirrel – 730 votes [8.01%]
Championed by: Red Squirrel Survival Trust

5 Robin – 626 votes [6.8%]
Championed by: RSPB

6 Otter ­– 270 votes [2.9%]
Championed by: Wildlife Trusts

7 Bluebell – 198 votes [2.1%]
Championed by: Plantlife

8 Water vole ­– 150 votes [1.6%]
Championed by: Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

9 Swallow – 108 votes [1.1%]
Championed by: BTO

10 Ladybird – 70 votes [0.7%]
Championed by: Buglife

Britain’s national species will be published in the August issue of ‘BBC Wildlife Magazine’, on sale 31 July 2013, priced £3.99.

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