By CHARLOTTE RILEY
HAPPY New Year! There is no doubt many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, but we can’t forget all of the wonderful work we’ve done over the past few months for our spiky friends!
Sunderland Hedgehog Friendly Campus was set up in October 2020 to make campus a safer place for hedgehogs and other wildlife. The scheme is run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, with universities up and down the country signed up to take part.
Currently working towards our bronze award and growing to 10 members over the past few months, we have already conducted a wildlife camera survey at City Campus, put up posters around campuses and accommodation and started the conversation on social media, as well as here on the SR News Hedgehog Blog.
Our wonderful grounds team took part in a training afternoon on land management and what to do should they come across an injured hedgehog, and we have attached stickers to strimmers, reminding everyone to keep an eye out for hidden hogs in the undergrowth.
Of course, Coronavirus has halted some of our plans, but with light at the end of the tunnel, we hope 2021 is an even better year for wildlife on our campuses. We are aiming to conduct more surveys as hedgehogs come out of hibernation, build hog houses and highways, fundraise for important causes and get the word out on the plight of hedgehogs in the UK.
We have already started work for 2021, running a campaign across social media in order to gather as many signatures for this petition to Parliament as possible.
The petition calls for the UK Government to move hedgehogs to schedule five of The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. This would allow them greater legal protection, as they face a crisis, listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in the UK.
With hedgehogs having depleted by up to 50% since 2000, we can’t hesitate to act to save our most iconic and much-loved mammal. In order to be considered for debate in Parliament, the petition still needs around 30,000 more signatures, so please share the link with friends and family. Everyone can make a difference!
Another goal for 2021 is to recruit more members to the Sunderland team.
You don’t need any prior experience with hedgehogs, just a passion for wildlife and a drive to make positive changes!
If you’re interested in taking part in the scheme, whether you’re a member of staff or a student, please email Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information! You can also find us on Twitter: @UoSHedgehogs, we would love to have you!