Ipswich hedgehog officer post gains worldwide interest
A job for a dedicated hedgehog officer to improve animal numbers has sparked worldwide interest.
Scores of applications for the two-year post of Ipswich hedgehog officer - with an annual salary of £24,000 - flooded in to Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
It drew attention from many countries including Taiwan, where the job was mistakenly touted as paying over £2.4m.
A trust spokesman said they had always hoped to get a good response, but had been "overwhelmed" by the interest.
News of the post was reported in Russia, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Germany and Hungary, and now the trust is sifting through applications before interviews next week.
The role came about after it found hundreds of people reported seeing hedgehogs in Ipswich, either dead or alive.
Funding for the role came from the Heritage Lottery Fund and British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
A spokeswoman for the trust said: "We thought we would get a good response, but we were overwhelmed by the numbers who responded and the international reach.
"Applications have closed now and we're really excited to go through them, and to start the interview process next week.
"The person we're looking for will have an inspirational, and quite unique mix of skills, which will make the face of hedgehog conservation in Ipswich."
Suffolk Wildlife Trust chose to focus on the town after receiving a large number of sightings by members of the public.
Almost 12,000 hedgehogs, dead and alive, have been recorded in the county over the past two years, with about 2,500 of these around Ipswich.
The trust previously said there was a "rich natural network" for hedgehogs across Ipswich, "including its beautiful parks as well as the cemetery, allotments and churches".
BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy launched a year-long campaign called The Whole Hog to make Suffolk the UK's first hedgehog-friendly county, aiming to help halt the decline in numbers.