I was reading an article about hedgehogs and why their populations are declining and endangered. While we don’t have native hedgehogs in the US, the same issues affect all our wildlife. This is particularly pertinent to living in a densely populated suburban or urban setting. No matter how much you restore and protect your property’s natural biodiversity, what your neighbors do or don’t do directly affects your success.
Wildlife survival depends on corridors of natural habitats containing native plants for foraging, protection, and nesting. When an animal is confronted with impenetrable walls or fencing, manicured lawns and overly trimmed, squared-off hedges, nonnative invasive plants that choke out beneficial food sources, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and machinery, this reduces safe passage, cover, and food. We have created isolated desolate islands surrounded by danger to survival.
All life is interconnected and dependent on the habitats and food sources it evolved with, all the way up to the top of the food chain, us. When the animal kingdom succeeds and thrives, so do we. So when we eradicate or reduce these natural bridges and protections, we ultimately endanger our own survival. As we overpopulate and overdevelop our remaining green spaces, we sabotage ourselves along with our fellow creatures.
Meanwhile, down here on our infinitesimal square footage of the planet, we watch in concern as ignorant neighbors overzealously rape and pillage what little vegetation is left, until it’s just a barren wasteland where no critter would dare to tread to get to a safe yard. So what can you do? All I can do is create a safe haven myself, with as many beneficial native plants and hiding places as possible, and whatever critters haven’t been killed or gone extinct will eventually find their way here.