In the very early days, this website used to be the Dutch ‘Witbuikegel Wiki’, a website with only the very basic care and information on African Pygmy Hedgehogs in the Dutch language. Over time more information was added and the website started to grow and gain foreign interest. Tehre was also a forum called ‘Witbuikegel Forum’, which was linked to this website.
In the year 2015, it was decided to translate the wiki website into English with a translator built in, so Dutch people could still read it in their own language. The website started to grow fast with foreign interest and over these years the website had been translated into other lagnuages inclusing Spanish, Italian, Danish, German, Dutch and a few others. But the website grew too big to manage it in all languages offered, so the other languages were deleted and only the English language stayed. However, a new interactive translation plug-in was implemented into the website so it could be read in any language possible. This trait is still present now. With this decision, the rebranding began and the website became The Hedgehog Program in 2018.
Researches towards color inheritance began in the year 2014, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the first summary sheets of this research became published on Academia. With the help of the community sending in pedigrees and information on born litters, more than 3000 pedigrees were collected over these years.
In 2018, after the rebranding, the research towards color inheritance was half done. meaning the dark eyed colors possible at this time were all discovered and published in summary sheets on Academia. The researches towards pink eyed colors began, as well as the microscopic researches into quill pigmentation and structure was started. A new registry with a worldwide goal to manage pedigrees and information like a global database was set-up and in 2019 a database website for the research information as well as a new forum were created. The database website is accessed through the menu of this main website. The new forum and the registry are accessed through the main menu as well. In total at the end of 2018, about 5000 pedigrees were collected in total. In Europe as well as in America, to create a global coverage of the research done.
In the near future, The Hedgehog Program will exist of a main website, a database website for the research data, a forum and a global registry. In this way, we can ensure our focus on research and education towards owners as well as rescues and breeders. Starting with African Pygmy Hedgehogs, but we aim to grow even more over the next years to come. Long Eared Hedgehogs as well as other species of hedgehogs and maybe even tenrecs, might come across our platform.
Together with our community partners and collaborating institutes, we hope to make scientific research possible towards these animals, as only a very limited amount of research has been done in the past. Very little is known about them, aside from years of experience in the pet community. If we all work together and set aside our differences, we can make this happen!