An animal-loving 11-year-old has been granted rare access to a hedgehog hospital after completing a project about the endangered mammals.
Isabelle Lane, from Pebmarsh, chose to dedicate a school report to the number of hedgehogs left in Britain.
When her grandfather, Brian Day, saw the work the youngster had put in, he was so impressed he contacted Shepreth Wildlife Park’s hedgehog hospital in Hertfordshire – and staff invited Isabelle to spend the day with them.
“Hedgehogs are one of my favourite animals so, when the charity invited me to visit, I was really happy,” said Isabelle.
“They don’t normally allow visitors, so I was very lucky.”
The project was the result of a task set to Year 6 pupils at St Margaret’s Prep School in Gosfield, which Isabelle attends. Teachers had asked children to use mathematical skills to research an area of interest.
“When I was writing my project, I learnt that hedgehogs are becoming endangered and numbers in Britain are declining,” said Isabelle.
“The main reasons the shelter had so many hedgehogs was because they were either babies with no mother, they were injured or they had been in an area with lots of badgers.”
During her visit to the hospital, Isabelle was able to learn about what hedgehogs eat and why they are at risk.
“At the hospital, I saw more than 150 hedgehogs,” she said. “I got to hold one, and the staff told me how you can tell if they are ill or if they are too fat.
“If they are too fat, they cannot roll up properly so they cannot protect themselves from badgers, who like to eat them.”
Isabelle has now been asked to design a poster to raise money for the charity and is set to return to the hospital in the summer.
Carolyn Moss, director of studies and Year 6 tutor at St Margaret’s, said Isabelle’s spiky experience was well-deserved.
“The projects we received were all unique, and were judged for their mathematical content, presentation and persuasiveness,” she said.
“Izzy produced a wonderful project on her favourite topic – hedgehogs.
“We were delighted that her high-quality work was recognised by Shepwreth Wildlife Park.”