In the UK the Western European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is widely treasured and was voted the UK's national emblem in a poll by BBC wildlife magazine. However, globally, other species of hedgehogs are valued for a different reason, their use in traditional medicines. This study reports on the trade of the North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) and other species, focusing on trade in Morocco. The study reveals that the hedgehog trade is common in several cities in the country and often involves live hedgehogs. The main worry from the article is the lack of monitoring of impacts of the trade, due to a lack of knowledge on population sizes of the species. Not mentioned in the article are the welfare implications of trading live hedgehogs, which again is not monitored.
In 2013 and 2014 we surveyed 20 Moroccan cities for a total of 48 times. We recorded 114 hedgehogs (32 alive and 82 skins) for sale in 25 shops in 10 cities, with the largest numbers recorded in Casablanca and Marrakesh. Over 80% of the shops selling hedgehogs were herbalists, selling herbs, spices, oils and animal parts, and both skins and live hedgehogs were intended to supply the demand for traditional (‘folk’) medicine.