A hello to our new hedgehog interns!

Ali North

Now that we have begun field work for the Spring 2018 season, we have two lovely new interns that have joined Team Hedgehog here in Ipswich. It’s brilliant to have the enthusiasm of both Sarah and Chloë on board, helping us better understand the ecology of hedgehogs, and how to measure their populations in an urban setting. I have asked both to write a little introduction about themselves, so I will digitally hand over to them…

“My name is Sarah Kilshaw and I am a wildlife conservation and the environment graduate (I still call myself a graduate even though I left Writtle University College in May 2017) and I grew up in Ipswich. I am passionate about wildlife and especially the wildlife of urban areas! One of my earliest memories of wildlife is of seeing a family of hedgehogs in my garden and this is one of the many memories of wildlife that have been scattered through my childhood that sparked my love of wildlife as an adult. I was eager to be involved in the hedgehog work in Ipswich because I want to know more about this elusive species that seemed to be common in my childhood yet so infrequent the older I get.

I have volunteered with a number of conservation groups in Ipswich including Suffolk Wildlife Trust and this has led me to my current job as a Casual Wildlife and Education Ranger with Ipswich Borough Council. As part of my job I do a lot of practical habitat management but I really wanted to get stuck into some survey work and I am so excited to be involved with the hedgehog project in Ipswich and learn so much more about the habits of these sweet, snuffly little animals that sneak into our gardens and our hearts! I confess that I am by far an expert with hedgehogs but I am so keen to learn and explore more about these cute little animals and hope that the work I do in the following months will make a difference to the future hedgehogs of Ipswich.”

Chloe:

“I remember the first time I saw a hedgehog: it was in my garden when I was about eight years old. Thinking back, it was probably the closest I had ever been to a wild animal at the time, and I was struck by its confidence it was probably after the cat’s food! Hedgehogs are a species that hold a special place in the heart of the British public, and I am excited to have the opportunity to take part in conservation research that could help prevent the decline of such a fascinating species.

After graduating in Bioveterinary Science from the University of Liverpool last year, I am so grateful to have the chance to work with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust on such an interesting project, developing skills that will definitely help me in my future career in conservation research!”

Hedgehog interns

Our two lovely new hedgehog interns, Sarah and Chloe

We are now a few weeks into the Nottingham Trent study and have battled the beast from the east, the mini-beast from the east and some numb fingers and toes. With permission to place a wildlife camera needed for 120 randomly-selected points, we’ve knocked on over 100 doors, walked 126km, met lots of lovely (and interesting!) people, and have nearly reached our target! Stay tuned to hear how we get on in the coming months.

Beast from the east field site