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Hedgehogs are a problemforbuilders

A COLONY of hedgehogs – the only one in Greater Paris – is holding up a huge new housing project on a disused railway embankment.

Hedgehogs in Europe have been protected since 1981 and cannot be disturbed or moved.

The Chapelle International project in the 18th arrondissement should finish its first tranche of housing by 2016, but the developers are not sure it can be finished without disturbing the hedgehogs.

The hedgehogs have already been targeted with claims that boys used to use them as footballs and in 2009 the railway authorities sprayed the area with insecticide, killing many.

Also, barbed wire to keep people off the rail tracks extends down to ground level, mutilating the hedgehogs.

A Sanctuaire des Hérissons spokesperson said: “We’ll never be able to fight such a big project but we’re going to try and get them to leave some space for the hedgehogs.”

The developers say they will respect the hedgehogs’ habitat and the local town hall points out it has already preserved a bat colony during another development project.

Environmentalists are calling for a census to monitor numbers before and after the works – and have called for a hedgehog sanctuary.

Landowners SNCF says it will remove the ground-level barbed wire.

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