A million. This is the number of hedgehogs that die on the roads of France each year, according to the naturalist Olivier Prévost, quoted by France 3† A critical figure that makes the species the “champion” of traffic mortality. To combat this scourge, the city of Paris has made a decision that is unique in Europe: to open a hospital entirely dedicated to this small mammal.
This is a European first. In July, the Paris Council gave the green light for the opening of a specific establishment dedicated to the treatment of injured hedgehogs, victims of road traffic. If the construction of this building has not yet started, it is only a matter of time, as it must first be validated by the Prefect of the Police of Paris, Didier Lallement.
This project is part of the “biodiversity plan 2018-2024” and is led by the association “Erinaceus 2020, for the Protection and Safeguarding of the European Hedgehog”. If the city of Paris made such a decision, it’s because, according to animal protection groups, nearly 75% of the hedgehog population has disappeared in 20 years.
How will this hospital work?
This specialized clinic will consist of an operating room, a recovery room, a nursery for newborns and of course veterinarians and medicines. The only difference from a conventional hospital: the patients will not be humans, but small mammals covered with spines.
In total, the establishment will accommodate up to thirty hedgehogs living around the capital (Paris center, park, Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne, etc.). Location wise it should be near the Bois de Vincennes, east of Paris. We don’t know the opening date yet.
Good news for the species threatened by this increasingly busy road traffic.