Writtle University College (WUC) has embarked on a three year campaign to create a hedgehog friendly campus. Over thirty students and staff members have registered to become hedgehog ambassadors.
The project is part of a new campaign by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society that turns university campuses into places where hedgehogs can thrive.
The British hedgehog population has declined by up to half since the year 2000. Roads, litter, a lack of food and water and a reduction of their natural habitats are thought to be contributing factors. Less than one million hedgehogs are believed to remain in Britain.
British universities have been asked join the campaign to create litter-free campuses with joined-up habitats and opportunities for hedgehogs to eat, drink and nest.This is due to universities generally possessing large estates with favorable habitat for hedgehogs.
Darren Veitch recently graduated from Writtle University College with a BSc (Hons) Animal Management. An ecologist and conservationist, he has been one of the 'Hedgehog Champions' coordinating the transformation of WUC's campus.
Darren says: "We're delighted by the high level of interest we've received from staff and students. Hedgehogs are now classified as vulnerable to extinction in the UK and we'll be working to turn WUC's campus into a hedgehog-friendly habitat. Our campaign will include installing hedgehog highways; dedicated areas with hog houses, log piles and wildflowers; local litter collection days; fundraising events and talks to raise awareness. We'd like to thank the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for creating this project and for their recent webinar on hedgehog ecology and behaviour."
To follow WUC's campaign progress, search for the twitter hashtag #HogFriendlyWUC.