Is Ipswich becoming the most hedgehog-friendly town in the country?
- Credit: John Ferguson Photography
How hedgehog-friendly is Ipswich?
That is the question Suffolk Wildlife Trust is looking to answer, two years after it launched a bid to be the country’s top town for the mammal.
The Trust has launched a website to give members of the public the chance to record sightings and evidence of the creatures’ activities in the town and nearby areas.
It is hoping to find out if things have improved for them since the campaign was launched two years ago.
The Trust is asking members of the public in Ipswich and beyond to record hedgehog-friendly activity. This will allow hedgehog officer Ali North to map areas of the town that have been made accessible and welcoming to hedgehogs.
They want to know not only about sightings of hedgehogs but also about the location of hedgehog nest boxes, wildlife-friendly gardens and hedgehog highways - access holes in fences.
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This information will tell the trust where hedgehogs can move throughout the town, where they are using nest boxes and if these actions sit alongside hedgehog-friendly gardening activity.
Ipswich residents are also invited to upload a picture of their hedgehog-highway to request a special Hedgehog Street sign.
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The mapping of sightings will allow the Trust to look at the connections between actions taken by members of the public and numbers of hedgehogs seen.
A recent national report highlighted how important urban environments have become for hedgehogs.
The report found that the decline of hedgehogs is increasing in the countryside, but looks to be slowing in urban areas. This is likely to be in no small part down to the actions of individuals and neighbourhoods.
Ms North said: “Hedgehogs are waking up, so now’s the time to start collecting information about what people are doing to help hedgehogs where they live.
“I have a feeling the networks of gardens and green spaces that have been opened up for hedgehogs have been making a real difference.”
She added: “It’s not too late to start, and we can help you. I’ve got several courses planned over the coming months for those wanting to make their gardens and local green spaces more inviting for hedgehogs – culminating with a hedgehog parade in Ipswich on September 1.”