The company behind the most famous hedgehog in the world wants you to know that Sonic's real-world counterparts in the UK are having a tough time.
I've always wondered why Sega chose to make Sonic the Hedgehog a hedgehog. Hedgehogs aren't blue, they don't wear sneakers, and they aren't known for running particularly fast. While Sonic might not resemble real-life hedgehogs in any way, he's still rather emblematic for the species. Sega has teamed up with the UK's People's Trust for Endangered Species to help make people aware that there are now 300,000 fewer wild hedgehogs in the UK than there were ten years ago.
Intensive farming is destroying hedgehogs' rural habitats, says the Trust, and car accidents claim 50,000 of the spiky little creatures every year. To help promote awareness of the cause (and to help promote awareness of Sonic's upcoming Sonic Colors), Sega created a "hedgehog road crossing" in Twickenham, south-west London, letting the beasts hog the road - if only for a little bit.
Four of the critters were set up in a crosswalk while a crossing guard monitored traffic - and at least one of them was wearing Sonic's red running shoes (so I guess I stand corrected up above). "Our hedgehogs had great fun ruling the roads for the day with the hedgehog crossing," handler Trevor Smith told the Daily Mail. "[It] will hopefully encourage everyone to do their bit in helping the hedgehogs of Britain stick around for years to come."
Sega's Anna Downing concurred. "Hedgehogs are an intrinsic part of British wildlife and with Sonic the Hedgehog such an institution we thought he was the perfect figure to raise awareness of their plight."
Marketing ploy? Perhaps. Good cause? Depends on how you feel about hedgehogs. Personally, I'm for 'em. So as far as I'm concerned, good on y'all, Sega. Hedgehog decline is a topic with which I'm sure you're familiar, and if we can avoid it, we really ought to try.
Sonic Colors hits shelves in Europe on November 12 (as Sonic Colours) and in North America on November 16 for Wii and DS.