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Helping Hedgehogs on Campus

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve achieved the Bronze Hedgehog Friendly Campus accreditation 

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Did you know that hedgehog numbers in the UK have declined by 50% since 2000 and there are now estimated to be fewer than 1 million left? We wanted to do something about this and so joined the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme, which is designed to make our campuses places where hedgehogs can thrive.

The Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme is sponsored by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and has three levels, bronze, silver and gold. We are very proud to have obtained the bronze level in March 2021.

To obtain accreditation, we had to fulfil 10 out of 18 possible criteria. These included creating hedgehog houses on campus, making sure our grounds teams are aware of what to do if they find a distressed hedgehog, putting stickers on our strimmers to alert users to potential danger to hedgehogs, holding hedgehog awareness activities and raising money for the BHPS.

A massive thank you to Zoology student Taylor Sanzari, Sustainability Officer Grace McMeekin and Grounds Supervisor Dimi for all their hard work. 

We are now aiming to achieve the silver award by March 2022. Get in touch with the sustainability team, sustainability@qmul.ac.uk if you’re interested in helping out!

 

1 Feb 2021

Hedgehog Blog: The Dangers of Slug Pellets and Other Poisons

Find out about risks to hedgehogs as part of Queen Mary's Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign

One of the many dangers faced by hedgehog is poisoning by commonly used pesticides and slug pellets. Many types of poisonous chemicals used in gardens and farmland are capable of negatively affecting hedgehogs, either directly or indirectly.

Slug pellets

Metaldehyde-based slug pellets are the most commonly used poison against slugs in the UK and can potentially be lethal to hedgehogs if ingested directly. These pellets have also contributed to the general decline of invertebrates. This factor along with overly tidy gardening, metaldehyde-based pesticides have likely indirectly contributes to the overall decline in hedgehog population.

As of April 2021, it will officially become illegal in the UK to sell or supply slug pellets containing metaldehyde for outdoor use.  The personal usage of these pellets will become illegal from the April 2022, allowing for a one-year grace period where existing personal supplies of pellets can be used.

After these dates, anyone caught selling, supplying, buying or using metaldehyde slug pellets in the UK will be breaking the law. If you see this happening, please report it to the Environmental Health Department at your local Council.

A slug approaching some pellets

There are many natural alternatives to keeping slugs away from your garden, below are some examples;

  • Beer traps; place pots of beer at the bottom of plants which slugs will fall into or climb.
  • Placing sharp sand, coffee grounds or crushed eggshells in a ring around the base of plants.
  • Adding damp carboard in the garden as slugs and snails enjoy hiding in dark damp places. This little microhabitat allows you to collect and remove the slugs that have gathered there.

General pesticides and rodenticides

Other types of pesticides can also directly affect hedgehogs such as anticoagulant rodenticides and herbicides as these chemicals are toxic if ingested. Herbicides also reduce worm population which is not only the main food source hedgies, but also in badgers. A decline in the badger’s food source could indirectly cause an increase in predation rate on hedgehogs.

There many different alternatives to rodenticides and herbicides such has humane traps, organic weedkillers and the addition of mulches to your garden.

Pesticides and other poisons not only have a negative affect on hedgehogs but also on other organisms in the surrounding environment such as birds, bees, plants and different types of primary and secondary consumers.

If you have any pesticides or poison you want to safely get rid of, please contact your local council for appropriate disposal.

Our Hedgehog Friendly Campus group are always looking out for new members and have plenty of upcoming tasks. So if you're interested, please take a look at how to get involved and help your local hedgehogs. 

 

27 January 2021

Hedgehog Friendly Campus Update

Queen Mary's Hedgehog Friendly Campus group have been working towards the Bronze accreditation

Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a national biodiversity programme for universities funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. This project offers free support to staff and students to make impactful changes for hedgehogs on campuses across the country. With more and more of their habitat and population decreasing, at Queen Mary we decide to lend a helping hand to the hedgies.

The Hedgehog Friendly Campus group is comprised of student and staff members all sharing a passion for wildlife, nature and of course; hedgehogs! Our mission is to undertake activities that make our campus more beneficial for hedgehogs in variety of ways. The group is currently aiming to for the Queen Mary Mile End Campus to reach the bronze level accreditation ahead of this year's deadline at the end of January. 

What we have accomplished so far:

  • We held regular student litter picks on campus helped remove undeposited rubbish, a major hazard for hedgehogs.
  • Our online social media campaign has sprad the word about the accreditation and raised awareness about issues affecting these little creatures.
  • Our fantastic campus grounds-team built and placed hedgehog houses around campus, hoping new visitors will make residences.
  • An online fundraiser has been set up by a member of the group for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. All proceeds go directly to the charity’s work on hedgehog research and helping sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs. Queen Mary's fundraiser for the BHPS
  • All campus ground staff have been trained on what to do if a sick or injured hedgehog is found. As well as how to manage the land in a more hedgehog friendly approach.

There are plenty of upcoming tasks and we are always looking for new members. So if you're interested, please take a look at how to get involved and help your local hedgehogs. 

 

09 December 2020

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

Did you know that hedgehog numbers have declined by at least 30% since 2000? Queen Mary has joined the national campaign to make universities Hog-Friendly

The Western European hedgehog is found throughout the majority of the UK and are well established in our urban and rural areas. Unfortunately, in recent years hedgehogs face a number of pressures in rural and urban development causing their numbers to decline by at least 30% since 2000. They are now classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable to extinction.

But there is still hope for these little creatures and many things you can help them regain their numbers!

How to get involved

Join the Queen Mary Hedgehog Friendly Campus group:

  • Join the campaign to make Queen Mary Hog-Friendly!
  • Participate in hedgehog friendly activities such as hedgehog house building, litter picking, hedgehog surveys and much more.
  • Students and Staff members can participate regardless of whether you are studying or working from home or on campus. Everyone is welcome to join no matter your department, age, level of knowledge or ability.
  • You can gain Bronze, Silver and Gold level Hedgehog Friendly campus accreditations.

We'll be working until 31st January 2021 to qualify for the Bronze level accrediation

 What is a Hedgehog Friendly Campus?

Get in touch:

If you have any questions about this campaign or would like to get involved with the Hedgehog Friendly Campus group please get in touch with Tom Stockton, the Students’ Union Sustainability Coordinator (t.stockton@qmul.ac.uk)

Ways to help hedgehogs at home

Hedgehog highways

The biggest threats to hedgehogs are habitat loss and fragmentation. By creating hedgehog-sized holes in fences or walls in the garden, it enables plots of land to become linked allowing the hedgehogs a well-connected range of habitats to find food, mates and areas to rest.

Check piles of wood and leaves before disposing of it or lighting it afire

Hedgehogs nest and hide in stacks of leaves or branches in your garden. They also hibernate in these refuges during the months of November to mid-March. This makes it especially important to check these piles before removing them or lighting a bonfire.  

Dispose of litter responsibly

Hedgehogs can become injured or they can starve to death by getting trapped in discarded rubbish.

Feeding and access to water

Supplementary cat or dog food and formulated hedgehog food can make up a significant part of their diet which can mean the difference between life and death for starving hedgies. Access to water is also very important, especially during warmer months.

Hedgehog houses.

These little critters are having a harder time finding refuges to rest, hibernate and raise their young. Building or buying a hedgehog house for you garden can help them survive and repopulate.

Wooden Hedgehog House Construction

For more information on hedgehogs and how you can help, please visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society website at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk

You can also sign the British Hedgehog Preservation Society's petition to protect the UK's dwindling hedgehog population before it's too late. - Petitions (parliament.uk)