Gold Award Campus
Why are Hedgehogs in trouble and how can we take care on them on University campuses.
If you have a garden watch this video to find out how you can help hedgehogs from the comfort of your own home!
Chris Wright from the Landscape and Grounds Team talks through the actions that have been taken on campus to support hedgehogs.
Students Clementine and Isabella talk about why hedgehogs are in danger, and what we can do to help them.
We are delighted to announce that the University of Kent has been awarded the gold Hedgehog Friendly Campus award. Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a programme funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society that offers support to staff and students at universities to encourage impactful changes for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs in the UK are in danger, with populations plummeting 50% since 2000. They are threatened as a result of many factors including habitat loss and fragmentation, a struggle to find food and water, litter, poisoning, and traffic on the roads. We have been making lots of effort since we joined the Hedgehog Friendly Campus programme in July 2019 to ensure that our campus is a safe place for hedgehogs to live.
The Landscape and Grounds team at the University of Kent have undertaken a training course so that they are aware of the dangers that hedgehogs face and what to do if they find a hedgehog that needs help. The Grounds team have also made our campus more accessible to hedgehogs by raising the height of fences, by leaving areas of suitable habitat untouched, and by installing ramps into steep-sided ponds as hedgehogs are strong swimmers but may get stuck if there is no way out. Informative stickers have also been placed on machinery such as mowers and strimmers to remind the team to check for hedgehogs before using the equipment. Check out the videos on our webpage for more information.
The Hedgehog Friendly Campus working group that was established in 2019 have been holding regular meetings to discuss our progress and have organised litter picks and surveys across campus. You might also be able to spot our new hedgehog road signs around campus to help drivers be more aware that hedgehogs might be crossing.
Now that we have achieved Gold we are looking at expanding the work we do for Hedgehogs as well as many other species. We have transformed the the Hedgehog Friendly Campus working group into a new ‘Biodiversity Forum’ which launched in May 2022 and will have a broader focus on the wide variety of biodiversity that is present on campus. Please feel free to email the Sustainability Team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming a part of the new Biodiversity Forum or working on any other biodiversity or sustainability projects at the University of Kent.
What to do if you find a hedgehog that you are concerned about:
If you have found a hedgehog you are concerned about at home please use gardening gloves to collect it up, bring it indoors and put it in a high sided cardboard box with an old towel or fleece in the bottom for the hedgehog to hide under. Fill a hot water bottle so that when it is wrapped in a towel there is a nice gentle heat coming through and put that in the bottom of the box with the hedgehog, ensuring it has room to get off the bottle should it get too warm. Make sure the bottle is always kept warm (if allowed to go cold it will chill the hedgehog and do more harm than good). If the hedgehog is bleeding please do not add a hot water bottle as this will make it bleed more quickly. Put the box somewhere quiet. Offer meaty cat or dog food and fresh water then call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society as soon as possible on 01584 890 801 for further advice and the numbers of local contacts. Note that out of office hours there is an answerphone, if you have a hedgehog, please press option 1 and listen to the emergency numbers, these volunteers are not representatives of BHPS, but they will be able to give you advice and numbers of local contacts. Please note as volunteers they are sometimes busy (and need to sleep) so if there is no immediate answer, please leave a message or try later. In the meantime, keep the hedgehog safe indoors as described above, or if in obvious pain and in need of urgent help take it to a local vet as soon as possible.
If you find an injured hedgehog on campus please call the Estates customer service desk on 01227 816666.
You may have spotted one of these ramps poking out of several of our ponds. Hedgehogs, like many animals use our ponds and wetland habitats for hydration and foraging. Sometimes they can fall in and find it difficult to get out. These ramps ensure that all animals, including hedgehogs are able to get out safely!
The Hedgehog Friendly Campus Steering Group has developed into the Biodiversity Forum to continue our work for hedgehogs and much more. If you want to join our group then please get in touch with the sustainability team. We are particurlarly looking for staff and students who are linked to research or groups that might benefit the campus and its biodiversity.