UK Nonprofit Hires Its First Hedgehog Officer

Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Suffolk Wildlife Trust / Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Alexandra North, a 25-year-old conservationist in the UK, just landed a position coveted by animal lovers around the world. She’s the first Hedgehog Officer hired by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, according to the BBC.

The unique position made international news when the trust began searching for a candidate earlier this summer, and North beat out candidates from countries as close as France and as far as Nepal. Some Taiwanese stories reportedly pegged the £24,000-per-year (about $31,400) position as a £2.4 million ($3.1 million) one, which might account for some of the surge in applications.

Even at the actual salary, it’s a pretty sweet gig. North, who has been working for a nonprofit called Birdlife International, will be organizing volunteers to make the hedgehog-rich town of Ipswich more friendly to the spiky creatures.

The plan is to establish a network of safe routes and places for hedgehogs to feed, nest, and hibernate in Ipswich, where 2500 wild hedgehogs have been observed in the past two years. A 2015 survey [PDF] estimated that UK hedgehog populations have declined 50 percent in rural areas over the past 15 years due to habitat loss from development, and as a hedgehog boomtown, Ipswich is the perfect place to kickstart efforts to save the animals.

[h/t BBC]

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