Hedgehog (1)

Hedgehog welfare and conservation tops the agenda as Hartpury hosts international conference

Hedgehog (1)

More than 200 delegates headed to Hartpury University and Hartpury College from 13-14 January 2024 for the International Hedgehog Rehabilitators Conference. Carers of sick and injured hedgehogs from fourteen countries shared knowledge, research and ideas with the common goal of slowing the decline of the European hedgehog.

The conference was sponsored by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and attracted widespread attention from media outlets including BBC News.

Guest speakers delivered a range of presentations, workshops and discussions covering topics including UK hedgehog conservation, pollutants, and medical conditions and treatments. 

The collaborative environment allowed attendees to forge new connections, exchange ideas and foster partnerships that may have the potential to further advance hedgehog welfare and conservation efforts on a global scale.

Dr Lucy Bearman-Brown, Senior Lecturer at Hartpury University and Programme Manager for its ever-popular BSc (Hons) Zoology, said: “It was a real privilege for Hartpury University and Hartpury College to host so many passionate carers of hedgehogs, each committed to finding ways to preserve these amazing animals in the wild. Historically, there hasn’t been a forum in which people could do this, so it’s really nice to be able to bring like-minded people together through this conference. 

At Hartpury, we’re passionate about research and finding ways to share knowledge with those care practitioners dedicated to improving hedgehog rehabilitation. The conference is successfully building a community comprising vet nurses, vets, and researchers that have the potential to have a real impact on the lives of this species of conservation concern.” 

2024 is set to be a busy year for Hartpury University’s Animal department. It will also host the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) Conference from 27-30 June 2024. The theme is ‘Watch and Learn: The value of observing and being with animals’ with a vision to explore and bring greater awareness of the value of observation to both human and animal wellbeing. 

Study Animal at Hartpury

Events like the International Hedgehog Rehabilitators Conference provide students studying a range of Animal degrees with an exciting opportunity to volunteer, learn more about event management or network with industry professionals. Partnerships with zoos, wildlife parks and organisations such as the WWT Slimbridge offer students opportunities to educate members of the public with their research, while student research conferences help them to refine their academic presentation skills. Together, these activities help to develop practical skills outside of the classroom as well as developing highly employable graduates, with 97% in employment, further study, or other purposeful activity (Graduate Outcomes 2023).

For those interested in Further Education (FE) options, Hartpury College provides a range of Animal diplomas, ideal for those looking to deepen their knowledge and skills in areas of care, management and science.