The University of Reading Hedgehog Society are a friendly group of like-minded volunteers, who all dedicate as much time as they can to benefit our wild hedgehogs which we are fortunate enough to have roaming around our Whiteknights campus, right in the middle of Reading! We are a part of a much wider scheme, formed by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, where we and other campuses aim to create as many hedgehog friendly campuses at different universities, colleges and even schools across the United Kingdom! It really is one big, connected family of hedgehog champions finding fun and engaging ways to educate more people about the nation’s favourite mammal!
Here at Reading, we are a relatively new group who have officially achieved bronze accreditation and are currently working towards our silver! The effort here has been campus wide, involving anyone who is willing to join in. As a result, we have made hedgehog houses, just in case our wild areas of campus don’t quite fit the bill! Log piles, wild verges and ‘messy’ areas have all been encouraged around campus, the hedgehogs love this, as well as lots of other wildlife! There is always fundraising and campaigning going on in and around campus too, where educational webinars and work parties all help to raise funds for our campus hogs! We’ve got lots planned too, like collaborating with different departments to ensure areas of campus remain hedgehog safe. Creating new highways vital to connect some valuable areas of campus and even ideas in the pipeline to create a natural rain-fed wildlife pond!
The reason for our efforts is because unfortunately, the hedgehog in the United Kingdom is under decline. Astonishingly, since the millennium it has been estimated we have lost roughly a third of the nation’s hedgehogs, in both rural and urban settings! These declines are associated with a range of factors, some being habitat fragmentation with roads and impassable fences, poisoning by harmful pesticides and dramatic loss of nesting and hibernating habitat due to the country’s obsession with tidiness! Those are just a few reasons plucked from a much more complicated picture painted for our hedgehogs. Therefore, it is crucial we do all we can to help save our remaining hedgehogs and develop ways to live alongside them.
As you can see, we have a lot to be getting on with, so we would love for you to get involved! It doesn’t matter what age you are or how much you know about hedgehogs; anyone can join in on the fun tasks we provide to help us learn about and protect our hedgehogs! Be sure to check out our socials and even consider joining on the Reading University Students Union (RUSU) website! We look forward to welcoming you on our team!
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