Hedgehog rescue left struggling as Ivermectin drug researched for coronavirus cure soars in price

A hedgehog rescue in Yorkshire says it is struggling after the cost of an essential medication has soared over its links to being a possible inhibitor of coronavirus.

Volunteer Heather Hawkins with one of the hedgehogs at the Emergency Hedgehog Rescue at Bingley, West Yorkshire.

The Hedgehog Emergency Rescue in Bingley says prices of gloves and other PPE have also shot up, which are needed to protect them from the infection of ringworm.

Ivermectin, which has been researched as a possible inhibitor of coronavirus in vitro, but is usually used to treat cattle and other mammals, has also increased in price.

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Stephanie Knowles, who runs the rescue, says that despite this, the number of hedgehogs admitted is more than three times its capacity because more people have been gardening, which leads to nests being disturbed.

One of the hedgehogs at the Emergency Hedgehog Rescue at Bingley, West Yorkshire.

"Most of the equipment we use has gone up in price during the lockdown," said Ms Knowles, 44.

"One of the medications we use to treat the hedgehogs - Ivermectin - has been linked to a possible treatment for Covid-19, so the price for that has soared."

Summer is usually a busy time for hedgehog rescues as people spend more time outside, although Ms Knowles said that with more people spending time in the garden during lockdown, the number of hedgehogs found abandoned or injured had also shot up.

"We've had a lot more hedgehogs orphaned this year because there have been a lot more people doing gardening," Ms Knowles added.

Hedgehogs Ginger and Rodger, who are two of the prickly residents at the Emergency Hedgehog Rescue at Bingley, West Yorkshire.

"That can lead to nests being disturbed, causing the mother to run away and abandon young ones. We've also seen a lot of hedgehogs admitted which have been injured by garden strimmers."

The rescue is currently looking after 74 hedgehogs, despite its capacity to care for up to 25.

"We're looking for anyone who can volunteer and someone who can help us fundraise," said Ms Knowles.

"Hedgehogs are wonderful creatures and just delightful to look after."