Suffolk

Ipswich's hedgehog officer moves on to amphibians

Ali North Image copyright Ali North
Image caption Ali North beat international competition to get the job

A town's first and only hedgehog officer is quitting after three years.

Ali North joined the Suffolk Wildlife Trust in 2016 to help make Ipswich the most hedgehog friendly town in the UK.

The job was initially for two years but saw Ali stay on for another year after her work "gained so much momentum".

The post, initially funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the Heritage Lottery Fund, generated interest from applicants worldwide.

Ms North said it had been "an amazing job".

"We've logged over 800 gardens which are accessible for hedgehogs, we've had hundreds and hundreds of new sightings, we've worked with over 6,000 people," she said.

"I like to think there's a lot of people in Ipswich and Suffolk who are going to continue championing hedgehogs."

Image copyright Paul Hobson
Image caption The officer was employed to make Ipswich "a really hedgehog-friendly town"

But despite the increased interest in helping the creatures proliferate, they are still struggling, according to Ms North.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust said it remained very supportive of hedgehog conservation and was keen for people to continue logging their hedgehog sightings on the trust's online map.

It will still be providing resources for anyone wanting to help hedgehogs.

Ms North will now be focussing her attentions on the threats facing British amphibians as part of a PhD course at the University of Plymouth and the Zoological Society London.

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