A new study has revealed that Bangor University is among the UK institutions doing the most to protect wildlife – meeting 100% of the ranking factors.
Bangor University met the ‘platinum tier’ criteria, with wildlife protection policies, partnerships or funding for local wildlife causes, biodiversity or wildlife activities on offer and regular wildlife surveys.
The study, led by wildlife care experts Ark Wildlife, surveyed all UK universities on their wildlife initiatives and support – on and off campus.
Bangor University commits to promoting biodiversity on its grounds with its Environmental and Biodiversity Policies. Plus, it has a number of partnerships across the region, including Treborth Botanic Garden, Red Squirrel Trust Wales and the Hedgehog Friendly Campus programme.
The institution's contribution to local wildlife is also evident in the opportunities for staff and students to participate in wildlife activities, such as a variety of specialist nature workshops with local organisations, gardening for wellbeing courses, plant conservation and plant-pollinator events.
Lars Wiegand, Director of Estates and Campus Services, said, "This recognition just highlights the hard work carried out by teams across campus including Grounds, Treborth Botanic Garden, Students’ Union, as well as Campus Wellbeing. It’s their attentiveness and passion for what they do that’s helped Bangor University achieve this status. We would also like to thank colleagues, students and the public for contributing to the numerous biodiversity surveys over the years.”
Dr Christian Dunn, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Sustainability, added, "It's fantastic to see the hard work of so many members of staff being recognised in helping make sure our campus is as biodiverse and as wildlife-friendly as possible.
"Teaching and research in the natural sciences is an important part of Bangor University, so we feel it's important to practice what we preach when it comes to looking after our wildlife.
"We're not going to rest on our laurels though; we'll keep doing whatever we can to improve our campus for the university community and our wildlife."
How do other UK universities compare?
Almost a third (42 from 122) of the universities who responded scored top marks, by supporting wildlife with a number of active measures.
The majority (84%) of universities who responded are involved in at least one initiative for local wildlife, though there’s still plenty of room for improvement among UK universities.
The most commonly overlooked factor is biodiversity or wildlife activities for students: more than a quarter (34 from 122) of universities fail to offer these. Similarly, 30 universities have no policies in place for protecting wildlife, making animals on campus more vulnerable. The findings highlight the gap among UK universities and will lead to calls for higher standards of wildlife support and protection.
Sean McMenemy, director at Ark Wildlife, says, “It’s clear that some universities are taking wildlife conservation extremely seriously, and it’s great to see. They’re really in tune with the local environment, providing invaluable habitats to animals in the area.
“Importantly, the most wildlife-friendly universities are actively encouraging students to become involved. This will breed greater awareness of conservation methods and just how vital wildlife is to the UK. Hopefully, it’ll also instil a lifelong love of animals and the environment in their graduates.”