Welcome to the first newsletter from Keele Wildlife Society!
I would like to begin by welcoming new members to the society and thanking everyone who has attended an event so far this semester.
The society has had a fantastic start to the new academic year with a variety of events including; a campus walk followed by lunch in the KPA, getting up close with reptiles and invertebrates as well as a fantastic talk by Professor Dawn Scott.
Professor Scott’s talk focused on ‘Adaptations of mammals to urban living’. Urbanisation is one of the biggest land use changes to occur and it is having a significant impact on the life of wildlife including foxes, badgers and hedgehogs. In order to understand these changes and the ways in which wildlife respond to the new fears and opportunities, it is necessary to understand the urban ecology. For example, within urban environments, wildlife can access new food sources; this can be from litter, bins or peoples back gardens and even inside their kitchens! This allows wildlife to have a regular food supply which can actually be more food than the animal can eat in one day. However, this ease of access to food means that wildlife such as foxes, no longer need to use their natural ability to hunt and gather food like they would in rural areas. In addition, the food humans feed to wildlife often is high carbohydrates which can lead to animals becoming overweight. Another important topic covered by Professor Scott was the rehabilitation of foxes and its impact. Although this is a way of being able to treat injured or ill Foxes in a safe environment; it can lead to them becoming socially excluded once they leave a pack. As a result, when they are released, they have to relocate themselves. In order to cause the lowest disruption, where possible, we should treat wildlife in-situ. These are just two of the key points highlighted during the recent talk by Professor Scott. More fantastic talks to come - keep an eye on emails, SU page and social media!!
I have fond memories of hedgehogs being in my garden during my childhood; providing them shelter and leaving them food at night was always a joy. But today myself and the Wildlife Society have serious concerns for the species. The population has significantly declined. In 1950 the estimated population was 36.5 million. Today this is a mere 522,000. As previously mentioned, urbanisation is impacting wildlife with road traffic accidents being the biggest cause of death for hedgehogs. What is more, urban design has limited routes for wildlife to allow habitat connection to occur. These are just a few of the issues hedgehogs face today. As a society we are looking to make a positive impact in response to this and make Keele a Hedgehog Friendly Campus - we want you to be a part of this! In order to achieve this status as a society we will increase habitats on campus, provide shelters and raise awareness to the issues facing hedgehogs. Please join the Hedgehog Friendly Group if you would like to be involved in this exciting project: https://www.greenimpact.org.uk/hedgehogfriendlycampus/login
Thank you for taking the time to read our first newsletter!