Gold award for Hedgehog Friendly Campus
The University of Edinburgh has been awarded a gold accreditation as a Hedgehog Friendly Campus thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers.
The University is taking action for hedgehogs because they are now an International Union for Conservation of Nature Red Listed vulnerable species due to population declines in both urban and rural areas. Action for hedgehogs benefits other wildlife and is part of our species-level work for the University Biodiversity Plan.
Staff and student volunteers have taken action to survey hedgehogs, improve green spaces and communicate issues to make the University's campus a safe and welcoming place for these prickly creatures.
Volunteers have surveyed Pollock Halls, Easter Bush, CRM at BioQuarter, Peffermill Playing Fields finding hedgehog prints at each site. One of the hedgehog surveys at the Edinburgh BioQuarter even turned into a hedgehog rescue!
Hedgehog rescue at the Edinburgh BioQuarter
Kings Buildings and Firbush were also surveyed, but no prints have been found yet.
The gold award builds on our year on year success in 2021 (silver) and 2020 (bronze).
The Estates Landscape team have been instrumental in improving University greenspace for hedgehogs by increasing wild corners, log piles and specific plants on campus sites, as well as undertaking training, setting out hedgehog homes and supporting hedgehog surveys.
The Hedgehog Friendly Campus project has worked as a catalyst to allow staff and students from varied backgrounds and disciplines to work in partnerships across the estate to undertake a range of projects and initiatives. Going forward the Estates Landscape team will continue to work with partners to enhance greenspace and biodiversity of the estate for all users.
New initiatives for the 2021/22 award included:
- Hedgehog surveys in the local community
- Hedgehog signage installation
- Knowledge exchange with other universities
- Student dissertation on how hedgerows on the Easter Bush campus support hedgehogs
- Campaign video production and promotion (see below)
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.
About Hedgehog Friendly Campus
Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a British Hedgehog Preservation Society-funded national biodiversity programme for universities. The project offers free support to staff and students to make impactful changes for hedgehogs.
Please message the Twitter account if you have any questions.