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WATCH as hedgehog hospital patients get released back into the wild

PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 May 2020

The hedgehogs have all been released into the wild now. Picture: SUFFOLK RURAL

The hedgehogs have all been released into the wild now. Picture: SUFFOLK RURAL

Archant

Four adorable hedgehogs have been released back into the wild after spending the winter in the care of students at the Suffolk Rural College hedgehog hospital.

Suffolk Rural teacher Jennifer Dow with one of the hedgehogs. Picture: SUFFOLK RURALSuffolk Rural teacher Jennifer Dow with one of the hedgehogs. Picture: SUFFOLK RURAL

The project began in November 2019 when the college teamed up with Poppy’s Creche in Stowmarket – a hedgehog rescue and rehabilitation centre.

Four hogs, two boys and two girls, were taken in and now five months later all of them have been granted their freedom after being brought back up to health.

Jennifer Dow is an animal technician demonstrator at the college, which is situated eight miles north of Ipswich, and helped to oversee the project.

“The actual link up started when my mum and I found a hedgehog in the garden,” she explained.

The hedgehogs have all been released into the wild now. Picture: SUFFOLK RURALThe hedgehogs have all been released into the wild now. Picture: SUFFOLK RURAL

“We discovered Poppy’s Creche on the internet, volunteered to work for them, and then decided it would be good for students to get involved.”

Ms Dow said her students showed real enthusiasm and interest in looking after the animals and that they’d love to do it again next winter.

Joe and Edmund were the first pair of the quartet to be released back into the wild and now Bonnie and Rose have joined them.

The teacher described what the project entailed and said: “We kept them nice and clean, built up their weight to over 800 grams and created a wooden home for them to keep them warm whilst protecting them from predators.

“We initially fed the hedgehogs for four days after their release but now they are completely self-sufficient.”

The students get to work with a wide variety of animals as part of their course and the college is keen to work with local charities and organisations, such as Poppy’s Creche – who they are hoping to continue with.

The college is also looking to create a new wildlife centre once lockdown is over and research is looking into the possibility of homing meerkats at the facility.

The hedgehog release was filmed as a way to help students engage during lockdown and coincides with Hedgehog Awareness Week, which takes place between Sunday, May 3 and Saturday, May 9.

The week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.

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