Fitzwilliam College has signed up to the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative – the first campaign of its kind on an Oxbridge campus to raise awareness of the difficulties facing hedgehogs due to habitat loss.
The UK’s hedgehog numbers have fallen by around 50% in rural areas and 30% in towns and cities since 2000. Increasing habitat loss means that many hedgehogs are moving out of their rural homes and into built-up areas where they face challenges such as road traffic, litter, poisoning and lack of access to food and water.
Fitzwilliam College has now got involved with the national accreditation scheme thanks to a 15-strong team of staff, students and Fellows who want to make the College a safer place for wild hedgehogs. The scheme is funded by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society. University teams sign up, then work towards accreditation by completing a number of "hedgehog-friendly" actions.
In conjunction with Shepreth Wildlife Conservation Charity, Fitzwilliam College is using its grounds and gardens as a release site for hedgehogs that have spent time at the charity's hospital.
During May, two hedgehogs, a male and a female were welcomed into hedgehog hotels for a short stay before being released into the College grounds.
Andrea Carolina Rosero, Fitzwilliam College MCR Environmental Officer, said: “The amazing setting of our campus provides fantastic scope for helping hedgehogs to thrive.
“We are planning on gaining accreditation this year and promoting this scheme among other colleges in order to help hedgehogs thrive all around Cambridge.”
Steve Kidger, Head Gardener at Fitzwilliam College, said: “We’ve launched the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative to increase hedgehog numbers on and around our campus.
“It’s estimated that there are fewer than one million left – but, with joined up habitats and providing opportunities for hedgehogs to safely eat and drink, we hope to do our bit to safeguard their future.”