Creating a Hedgehog Friendly Campus
In February 2021, the University of Edinburgh was awarded silver accreditation as a Hedgehog Friendly Campus.
Following on from our bronze award in 2020, staff and students have carried out a variety of activities to successfully achieve the silver accreditation.
Although the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic prevented our volunteers from coming together in person they met virtually and carried out several activities including:
- Reaching out to local residents via Twitter and Facebook to educate them about the campaign and how to protect hedgehogs
- The Vet School hosted a webinar on ecological hedgehog medicine as part of National Hedgehog Awareness Week in May 2020
- Discussing alternatives to pesticides and rodenticides and planning for an upcoming webinar in 2021
- This year the Vice President of Community for the Students’ Association joined the campaign, helping advertise and fill four student Hedgehog Champion roles.
On campus, the Landscape team continued to create log piles and wildflower spaces for hedgehogs. Residents at our student accommodation site, Pollock Halls, carried out a five day hedgehog footprint survey which resulted in positive results.
Whilst following government restrictions, staff and students were also able to take part in the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s litter picking challenge.
Hedgehogs in the UK
Unfortunately the hedgehog population in the UK has declined by up to 50% in the last 20 years. After a study was carried out by the Mammal Society in 2020, hedgehogs were classed as 'vulnerable to extinction' as their habitats continue to decline.
Increasing habitat loss in rural areas means hedgehogs are moving into more built-up areas. Urban areas present the creatures with a host of challenges including road traffic, litter, poisoning and lack of access to food and water.
The Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a national scheme funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society aiming to improve awareness of hedgehogs for university staff and students and to increase hedgehog numbers on and around university campuses.
Stay up to date
To keep up to date with all the latest activities and news as the University goes for the gold award in 2021, follow us on Twitter: @UoEdinburghHogs.
We are excited to have a local celebrity, artist Alice Druitt, now supporting the campaign and look forward to sharing more about this in the coming months.
If you would like to become a Hedgehog Champion and help the University become a gold Hedgehog Friendly Campus please contact SRS.Department@ed.ac.uk to register your interest.
Improving habitats on campuses for hedgehogs also improves them for other species. This work is part of our wider biodiversity strategy to address both biodiversity loss and climate change in Scotland. Maintaining and allowing a diversity of species in green and blue spaces can ensure resilience of ecosystems.