Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and takes place every year. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.
The hedgehog is in trouble, with populations plummeting 50% since 2000. Increasing habitat loss means hedgehogs are moving out of their rural homes and into built areas. But here they face a whole host of challenges, including road traffic, litter, poisoning and lack of access to food and water. In 2019 the RSPCA saw Hedgehog admissions to their wildlife centres break all records with 2770 hedgehogs being admitted. Reasons for this include variations in weather causing a reduction in food availability meaning hedgehogs struggling to make it through the winter.
We are lucky enough to have hedgehogs on our campus however, the roads that cut through campus are causing particular issues with hedgehogs being hit by vehicles, as well as litter causing issues for hedgehogs and other wildlife on campus.
In July 2019 The University launched it’s participation in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus project- created at the University of Sheffield to use the unique spaces that university campuses are, to raise awareness of the plight of UK hedgehogs and take action to safeguard their future.
The University has a hedgehog action group made up of student and staff volunteers from across the University working together to address these issues. This group has taken a number of actions to help support hedgehogs on campus including litter picking, awareness raising and providing toolbox talks for the Landscape and Grounds Team so that they know what to do if they find an injured hedgehog, how to check for them before strimming and what are the biggest risks to hedgehogs on campus.
The University was awarded a Bronze certificate for its efforts by the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project earlier this year and since then the action group have been developing plans for further initiatives we can do, including surveying and signage.
Whilst we are all in lockdown there are number of things we can all do to help support local hedgehogs, especially those of us that have gardens. Simple actions like: creating a log pile, checking areas before strimming, and building a hedgehog home can make a huge difference to your local population of hedgehogs. This year the BHPS are asking people to talk to their neighbours (from a distance) about cutting a CD case sized hole in the bottom of fences to create a hedgehog highway between gardens.
You can find out more information about things you can do on the BHPS website and get involved with the University of Kent Hedgehog action group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Throughout the week the Sustainability Team will be posting tips, actions and activities on their Instagram @unikent.sustainability
You can also download some activities for children by clicking on the images below: