When autumn is just around the corner and the leaves cover the ground, it is hedgehog time. During this time, the small, prickly wild animals eat a thick shell of fat in order to survive the coming winter days. In addition to the search for food, the offspring is a priority for many hedgehog parents. The offspring born in August and September must be raised and prepared for life in the wild.
At least that is the ideal situation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work and then sick hedgehogs or abandoned hedgehog babies have to be nursed to reception centers, such as the one of the Martin family in Gerbrunn.
The Martins operate one of the last hedgehog stations in Lower Franconia. The couple have been looking after the small animals in need for 20 years. “We raised the animals with a lot of passion,” explains Herbert Martin. But that could soon be over.
The neighboring property, on which the family had repeatedly abandoned nurtured hedgehogs in recent years, is being rebuilt. “Right now the area is being razed to the ground without consulting us,” says Herbert Martin, disappointed. The timing is difficult because the young are leaving the nest for the first time.
The construction work started would threaten the habitat of the hedgehogs and their young, he explains. And another problem is looming with the new development: “We cannot release hedgehogs in our garden or in the surrounding area.” The construction work is too great a danger for the hedgehogs. At the moment the couple are helpless and do not know whether they can continue to take in hedgehogs in need of care.
What Gerbrunn’s mayor says about the situation
Gerbrunn’s mayor Stefan Wolfshörndl also appreciates the work of the hedgehog sanctuary, but also says: “The area the family is talking about is a private neighboring property.” Wolfshörndl cannot understand the surprise at the start of the construction work. “It wasn’t a sudden thing because there is a building application procedure with corresponding participation regulations,” he says.
As Dagmar Hofmann, press spokeswoman for the Würzburg district office confirms, the Martins signed the building application. “The Martin family was therefore likely to have been informed by the client at an early stage,” she explains. Nonetheless, Hofmann promises the Martins support. The district office would be happy to support the family in finding a suitable replacement property, said Hofmann.
The Martin family is hoping for help from other hedgehog friends
“Of course we signed a building application,” explains Gudrun Martin in response to a renewed request from this editorial team. However, she was not informed of an exact start of construction and this is exactly where the problem lies: “We wanted to go to the site and save the animals beforehand.” She is not only concerned with the hedgehogs, but also with other endangered species such as lizards and smooth snakes. They found a home on the overgrown property.
In their search for a solution, the couple is now hoping for help from other hedgehog friends. The Martins are looking for private foster homes that could take in hedgehogs and build an enclosure in their garden.
Who would like to support the family, can contact the Martin family on Tel .: (0931) 30 48 96 08. There is more information on the Igelstation website www.igelstationgerbrunn-protiere.de.