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Save Sonic: University of York battles to save the hedgehog

The University of York has taken advantage of their beautiful campus and biodiversity to receive bronze status and becoming a hedgehog friendly university.

The university joins Birmingham University, Lincoln University, Liverpool University, York St. John and many other university’s in achieving a Hedgehog friendly campus.

Hedgehogs are a well-loved animal, that were once prevalent in the UK. In recent years, numbers have dwindled by 50% in rural areas.

These dwindling numbers are due to litter, increased pesticides and new developments leading to destruction of their habitat.

Professor Nia Bryant, lecturer at the University and leader of the hedgehog initiative says that litter is the main focus of the university to enhance its already established biodiversity.

‘Our campus has great biodiversity and natural resources.’ She continued to show me a pile of hair elastics on her desk. ‘That is from a week of picking up any hair ties I see around campus’ ‘hedgehogs burrow into them and then the hair ties get tighter as they grow.’

The University of York is a registered hedgehog friendly university and are bronze accredited, taking actions such as building hedgehog houses and creating ramps in and out of the water out of rocks. Gordon Eastham, estate manager at the university says ‘hedgehogs struggle to get in and out of the water, this is just us giving them a helping hand.’

‘We are implementing a range of measures across the campus here to help raise awareness and have started training for the ground staff like fitting warning stickers to strimmers to help reduce one of the greatest causes of serious injury to the hedgehogs, especially at this time of the year’ Gordon continued to say.

Professor Nia Bryant also discussed other benefits getting involved could have. ‘We have a beautiful campus and its open to the public and we encourage them to visit, and keeping the grounds clean is important for that too.’

She also discussed the benefits getting involved has on mental health. ‘Spending time outside also has monumental affects on mental health and improving it, so it’s great for students to get involved in.’

To help prepare for hedgehog awareness week (May 3rd-9th) there are some small things you can do, including picking up litter, being aware of any hedgehogs in your garden and making sure any gardening does not destroy their home and using more natural pesticides.

To get your university involved, contact