Street artist ATM to paint Ipswich hedgehog mural
A giant hedgehog mural is to be painted in a town which has been identified as a hotspot for the mammal.
Street artist ATM will paint the image in the centre of Ipswich, found to be a stronghold for hedgehogs
Suffolk Wildlife Trust has appointed a hedgehog officer for the town and is overseeing the project with the artist, who is known for his wildlife murals.
"I just want to communicate how unique and beautiful these things are," ATM said.
A survey found 12,000 hedgehogs, dead and alive, had been recorded in Suffolk over the past two years with about 2,500 of these around Ipswich.
The trust said the "rich natural network" in the town had helped support hedgehogs, the number of which has fallen drastically elsewhere.
ATM said: "People say there used to be 36 million hedgehogs in the UK in the 50s, and as few as one million now.
"That's such a drastic decline - if it carries on there won't be any left.
"So it has to be publicised and people need to be made aware of what they can do to help hedgehogs."
The trust is working with Ipswich Borough Council to identify a wall for the mural, which ATM said would be painted by hand with acrylic paints and take about three days to complete.
The London-based artist specialises in painting endangered species in urban environments, and recently completed a mural of a lynx in Bristol.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust said it "loved the work of ATM and what he's done around the world to raise the issue of species in danger".
A spokeswoman said: "We're very excited about bringing him to Ipswich and the mural becoming a landmark in town.
"The people of Ipswich have really got behind the efforts to make the town hedgehog friendly and the mural will celebrate this."