Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hedgehog in a box!

A hedgehog, in a box, on my kitchen counter:


Sorry its a bad shot - kind of rushed. Why is there a hedgehog in a box on my counter? Well it's a long story and it has led me to thinking about a few other things. I found the hog walking to my local pub. It was sat beside the road, not really moving or responsive and had a bit of green and pink paint on it. My initial thoughts were that it had been vandalised by someone but it then occured to me that rehab centres frequently mark their hogs to allow ID of individuals more easily in group enclosures. Either way the fact that a marked hedgehog was hunkered down the way he was (by a road) was concerning to me. He just didn't look healthy. I decided to take him home and call the rehab centre and that is where he ended up. He was heavy and flea, tick and mange free which is all good news but at the same time I didn't want to take a chance on him. I suspect I'll get a call in a couple of days to say he's dopey but fine in which case he'll be released where I found him. Hopefully anyway.

The above was, you may be surprised to hear, unusual behaviour on my part. You see; I'm relentlessly unsentimental about wild animals. I generally disapprove of money being spent rehabbing animals which are relatively common like foxes, swans or deer. To me, the animals being rehabbed are natural selection's unchosen few and the money spent on them would be better spent preserving habitat. It's a view I've always held and I stand by (whilst acknowledging the lack of overlap on fund sources) and yet I felt the need to cancel my plans and use a fair amount of gas taking the 'hog to his potential saviours (possibly the second time someone had done so for this guy). Sometimes an individual animal defies rational, cold-headed assessment and I guess even I can be sentimental sometimes.

I'd welcome other people's thoughts on the value of saving individuals in this way.


Elephant's Eye said...

As we stop to help tortoises cross the road, whenever we can. Once pulled off the road, to rescue one, and an idiot in bakkie smashed it to bloody pieces across the road. One dead tortoise. Literally just outside the gate of the nature reserve. So near and so dead.

Julia said...

I think there's some merit in rehabbing animals that have been injured by human activity. It's one thing letting a diseased fox die quietly with no interference from humans, but quite another seeing a swan slowly choking on fishing line.

On a related note, I don't feel too bad seeing magpies picking off baby birds, but I get really annoyed at next door's extremely well-fed domestic cat trying the same.

Tony Wildish said...

I agree with your point about spending money in the wrong places, helping animals that may not need it to the detriment of those that do. It's a sad fact that we simply don't have the resources to help all the animals that we otherwise could.

That said, I also think that it's right to help even common animals if we can. No point waiting until they're endangered before we start doing something! I think you did the right thing helping the hedgehog, and I'm glad you did it.