The Animal Care department at Derby College Group (DCG) is inviting members of the public to help release a male hedgehog back into the wild as part of a workshop about the lives of these vulnerable creatures.
The classroom-based workshop will explore hedgehog habitat, track signs, conservation and how to encourage these creatures to live in gardens. Attendees will also join full-time Animal Care students who will gently release the hedgehog that they have been nursing back to health over the winter months.
Prickles – named by the students – was found by a member of the public and brought to Broomfield Hall because he was very small and underweight. Students have kept him at a constant indoor temperature to keep him awake and ensured he has been well fed over the winter months.
On a diet of kitten and puppy food and some insect and worm treats, his weight has increased from just 250 grams to a healthy 1,000 grams and he is now in an outdoor enclosure to acclimatise him before his release back into the wild.
Animal Care lecturer Abby Bruce is a qualified zoologist and a veterinary nurse specialising in hedgehog conservation before joining Derby College. She said: “We usually release our winter hedgehogs back into the wild at dusk with just a handful of the students involved overseeing to ensure all is well.
“Our Animal Care workshops and mini experiences have proved so popular that we decided to give members of the public the chance to learn more about these lovely creatures and then be part of Prickles' release. Nationally, the hedgehog population is in decline so it is important that people have awareness of how to look after these animals if they come into the garden, what to feed them on, signs of ill-health and what they should do if there is a problem.”