The University of Southampton has been recognised as a safe place for hedgehogs to live and thrive. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has awarded the University a 2020/21 Bronze Hedgehog Friendly Campus Award for taking positive action to provide a nurturing habitat.
Hedgehogs can successfully live in urban and suburban areas, with gardens and parks providing plentiful food supplies and nesting sites. They are well known for acting as gardeners’ allies by eating slugs, snails and other creepy crawlers which damage plants. The small, spiny mammals are also keen ramblers – roaming an average distance of two kilometres in a single night.
Sadly, Britain’s hedgehog numbers are in decline, having reduced by as much as 50 percent since the year 2000. However, help is at hand, with universities nationwide working to make their campuses as friendly as possible for our prickly friends.
Students and staff at Southampton have been removing litter, checking hedges and bushes for the creatures before carrying out any maintenance work and have run a range of activities to promote how to be hedgehog friendly.
Team leader for Southampton’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus (HFC) team, student Anna Cooper explains: “In less than a year, throughout the duration of the pandemic, we have managed to achieve the Bronze HFC Award, which is a great achievement for the group and the University! We have run events including the launch event and quiz, hedgehog footprint surveys, a traffic safety campaign, litter-picks, and generally raised awareness of hedgehogs and fundraised for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
“It is a great community to be part of if you love hedgehogs and the environment! And our efforts are of even greater importance, since hedgehogs have recently been classified as an endangered species.”
Sarah Woodward, Environment and Sustainability Manager at the University of Southampton said: “We have a lot of green space on our campuses which is ideal habitat for hedgehogs. Through engaging with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, we hope to have given hedgehogs a real chance to flourish – one of many ways in which we actively enhance our estate to benefit local wildlife and create a biodiverse landscape.”
The University will now work towards achieving silver status over the coming year with the ultimate aim of picking up a gold award in the future!
If you’re interested in joining the team and want to help us work towards the Silver Award, please feel free to message the Southampton University HFC page on Facebook.