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University of Bristol to become hedgehog haven

Yvonne Cox, Hedgehog Rescue

Members of the University's Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign team

Press release issued: 1 November 2019

Spiky visitors to the University of Bristol will receive a warm welcome thanks to a new Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign.

The University of Bristol is one of 32 UK universities which have signed up to an accreditation scheme launched this year with the support of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. The campaign aims to help revive hedgehog populations by raising awareness within university communities and making changes to campus areas.

These measures include:

  • Gardens and Grounds staff being more vigilant when using strimmers and clearing areas of debris;
  • regular student litter picks to keep our landscape clean for wildlife;
  • trained members of staff who can help rescue sick or injured hedgehogs; and
  • surveying and monitoring areas for more evidence of hog populations to develop the campaign further.

Hedgehog numbers are in serious decline in the UK. Since 2000, they have decreased by 30 percent in urban areas and 50 percent in rural areas, with numbers falling rapidly in the countryside due to habitat loss, pushing hedgehogs into urban areas where they face challenges including traffic, litter, and lack of access to food and water.

The University of Bristol’s campaign, run by the Estates and Sustainability teams with help from staff and student volunteers, celebrated its launch event at the University’s allotment with guest speaker Yvonne Cox from Hedgehog Rescue, who shared information on optimising gardens and urban spaces for hedgehog safety.

Yvonne Cox said: “The Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign is about connecting spaces to recreate the wildlife corridors hedgehogs used to have. A space like this allotment will have perfect wildlife such as bees and butterflies for natural hedgehog food sources; there’s a lovely hedgerow for them to sleep in; and holes in the fence for them to access other garden areas.

“Today there’s a feeling that everything has to be perfectly manicured, but as a species we need to give back to nature by having some scruffier, connected wild spaces in our cities and gardens.”

Simone Jacobs, Horticultural Supervisor Gardens and Grounds at the University of Bristol, said: “We’re very excited to have signed the University of Bristol up to become a Hedgehog Friendly Campus. We were very pleased that so many people from across our campus came along on such a chilly day to show their support. We’re confident we can gain the bronze accreditation by Christmas.”

Further information

Staff and students wishing to get involved can join the Hedgehog Friendly Campus University of Bristol Facebook Group for updates and future events - all staff and students are welcome to join.

Ways to ensure our campus is a safe space for hedgehogs include staff and students working together to make sure the campus is litter-free, with joined up habitats, natural drinking and eating opportunities, and hedgehog-houses.

With Bonfire Night around the corner please take precautions to save hedgehogs by creating or relocating your log pile during the day on the 5th of November to reduce the risk to hedgehogs and other wildlife that may have chosen your pile as their home.

Find out more about the do’s and don’ts of looking after hedgehogs on the Hedgehog Rescue website.

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