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Cambridge researcher beats worldwide competition to win dream job

Cambridge researcher gets a dream job working with hedgehogs
Cambridge researcher gets a dream job working with hedgehogs

Spiky job but someone has to do it

A Cambridge researcher has beaten off worldwide competition to win a dream job as a dedicated hedgehog officer.

Alexandra North, 25, beat 150 applicants to win the £24,000-a-year post with Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

The zoology graduate will begin work as Ipswich’s dedicated hedgehog officer next month.

The trust made the move to employ a dedicated officer after receiving a large number of sightings by members of the public.

Almost 12,000 hedgehogs, dead and alive, were recorded in the county in the last two years, with about 2,500 of these around Ipswich.

Ms North, who currently works as a researcher at Cambridge-based conservation group Birdlife International, saw off competitors from countries including France, Spain, Germany, South Korea, China, the US and Nepal.

The job advert for the two-year role was shared around the world and mistakenly offered as a £2.4m post in the Taiwanese press.

A Trust spokeswoman said: “The competition was tough. We had applications from around the world and some really strong candidates.”

Ms North’s work will involve building a network of volunteers who will help to work out hedgehog-friendly routes around Ipswich’s urban landscape.

Ms North, who holds a postgraduate degree in biodiversity and conservation, said: “Everyone loves hedgehogs and they are so important to the biodiversity of our landscape and our wildlife.

“I really hope I can engage with people and encourage everyone to see how making small changes really can make a difference to these little creatures.”

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