The University’s Sustainability Team is calling for its local neighbours to help safeguard the future of UK hedgehogs, with populations plummeting 50% since 2000.
Increasing habitat loss means hedgehogs are moving out of their rural homes and into built areas. As hedgehogs can travel far during the night to find food and water, the University is raising awareness for local neighbours to provide extra support.
The University, which has been part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme since 2019, has been carrying out a number of initiatives on campus to support hedgehogs including surveying, litter picking and creating log piles for hibernation. Ten tunnels were strategically placed around campus in which any small animals could walk through, over a strip of non-toxic ink and leave footprints on the other side.
Kent’s Landscape and Grounds management team have participated in educational sessions to prepare for finding any injured hedgehogs, learn how to check for them if they are about to strim grass and assess what risks there may be on campus for resident hedgehogs. Thanks to these efforts, Kent has been awarded the Bronze Award by the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Scheme and is looking to work towards the Silver Award.
Emily Mason, Sustainability Coordinator of the University’s Safety, Health and Environment Unit, has provided some tips for local neighbours who want to support the safeguarding of hedgehogs.
Her tips are:
- Create a hedgehog friendly garden – leave wood piles, provide a nesting box, plant wildflowers, dig a pond and/or leave a patch to go wild.
- Avoid using pesticides or rodenticides.
- Create a hedgehog highway by cutting a small hole in the bottom of your fence and encouraging your neighbours to do so also.
- Log your hedgehog sightings on the Big Hedgehog Map!
- Pick up litter in your local area.
- Take a look at resources from the Hedgehog Preservation Society
- Become a local Hedgehog Champion with the Hedgehog Street Campaign.
Emily said: ‘We would love to have our local neighbours on board to support this initiative, with hedgehog populations significantly decreasing. We hope that we can raise awareness and encourage more participation in safeguarding them in the local community for the future.’