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Housebuilder to roll out hedgehog ‘highways’
Each hedgehog hole will be marked with a special plaque so the highways do not get accidently blocked.

Initiative could help hedgehog populations recover

British housebuilder Bovis Homes is set to roll out hedgehog ‘highways’ in all of its existing developments as part of an industry-first campaign to protect hedgehogs and other endangered animals.

The developer has joined forces with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) with a commitment to introduce highways to all future sites ‘wherever possible’. It is hoped the move will allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens and provide easy access to frogs, birds, insects and other small mammals.

“We are proud to be the first housebuilder aiming to roll-out hedgehog highways as standard across current locations and our new developments, to help one of the nation’s favourite animals roam freely at night between gardens,” commented Louise Macrae, regional marketing manager for Bovis Homes.

“As part of our new sustainability steering group, protecting hedgehogs and the environment is at the forefront of what we want to achieve and we are delighted to join forces with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and take the lead in the housebuilding industry.”

Bovis Homes is developing the highways - small holes placed at ground level in fencing and other barriers - to allow hedgehogs and other wildlife to connect and access other gardens. Each hole will be marked with a plaque, so they do not get accidently blocked, and customers will be given literature so they can understand how best to help hedgehogs.

“We are delighted that Bovis Homes is making this important pledge to help our dwindling population of hedgehogs,” commented Faye Vass, chief executive of BHPS. “Creating holes for hedgehogs in fences and walls is a simple step but it could have a huge impact on the amount of habitat available for hedgehogs following the development of a site.

“There are many small actions we can all take to help hedgehogs in our gardens and green spaces, and joined together those small actions can make a huge difference to a species under threat.”

Figures from the latest State of Britain's Hedgehogs report, published in 2019, show that urban hedgehog populations have fallen 30 per cent since the turn of the century, and rural numbers have fallen by 50 per cent.

Conservationists say that, if all new housing developments were built with wildlife in mind, they could play a vital role in the recovery of hedgehog populations.

To further support conservation work, Bovis Homes has donated £5,000 to the BHPS and has partnered with national project Hedgehog Street - a joint initiative between BHPS and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. It will also be installing hedgehog homes in green spaces to encourage hedgehogs to hibernate and raise their hoglets. 

Image (C) Bovis Homes.

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.