Hedgehog Awareness Week: Kazzie Update
Written in collaboration with the Gardens team. Find them on Facebook.
This week (3rd-9th May 2020) is Hedgehog Awareness Week! The week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and takes place every year. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and what we can do to help.
You may be thinking to yourself, ‘I used to see lots of hedgehogs, but not for a long time’. Unfortunately, that observation is true. Since 2002, the species’ population has declined by 30%. Studies reveal there are only about one million left in the UK. Hedgehog populations are in a catastrophic decline due to habitat loss, climate change affecting seasons, and urban sprawl.
Last year, led by the Gardens team and supported by Sustainability, we began working towards making Loughborough University a Hedgehog Campus Friendly. We achieved our bronze award in December 2019 through a variety of events and projects such as staff and student litter picks.
The team were hoping to embark on the Silver award in early 2020. Sadly, this along with many other things, will be delayed. However, work has not stopped on campus or nationwide in raising awareness of the plight of the hedgehog and encouraging people to do their bit in helping this beautiful species.
In February’s Sustainability Newsletter, we told you all about our wonderful hedgehog rescue success story. Kazzie the campus hedgehog weighed just 384g when she was found in September. With critical care given by Barrow Hedgehog Rescue and a 6 month foster period in the care of Assistant Gardens Manager – Rachel Senior – she was a healthy 980g by November and was able to go into hibernation. She spent the winter snoozing and emerged in early April, hungry and ready to face the world.
Since Kazzie was one of last year’s babies, she had not been out hunting for her own food, so the University Hedgehog team decided to first let her go into an enclosed ‘soft release’ site, where habitat piles have been specially created but where the team can feed her daily.
She is monitored with a night action camera and is feeding regularly and looks happy and healthy.
Neighbours around the area where she was found have reported other sightings of hedgehogs in their gardens so when we are able to move around freely and able to release her safely, she will be moved, at dusk, to a nearby garden where food is put out for other resident hedgehogs.
If you have a garden, there are lots of ways you can help hedgehogs this Hedgehog Awareness Week:
- Create a log pile that will offer shelter and food
- Build a Hedgehog Home!
- Move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it.
- Check areas carefully before mowing or strimming.
- Ensure netting is kept at a safe height.
- Check compost heaps before digging the fork in.
- Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used.
- Cover drains or deep holes.
- Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds & pools.
This project is in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. Read more here.
Loughborough University Sustainability Blog