One of the large marsh grasshoppers. Picture: Wild Ken Hill

Wild Ken Hill has joined a project to restore the UK’s largest and rarest grasshopper releasing more than 100 large marsh grasshoppers at its site. 

The release is part of a partnership project called A Hop of Hope, led by Citizen Zoo and including Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants and Natural England. 

This large insect fares best in wet fens and peat bogs, a habitat lost to much of the UK, resulting in its near extinction.  

Restricted almost exclusively to the New Forest and Dorset, 122 hoppers were released last month at the Snettisham site.

A spokesman for Wild Ken Hill said it is hoped the widespread habitat creation and enhancements at the estate will provide a “healthy, nurturing environment” for the grasshoppers and it is hoped by next summer, the male hoppers will make the distinctive clicking noise which will suggest they have completed their annual life cycle.

The hoppers will break down and recycle organic matter with their micro-grazing and provide food for other animals, helping to boost biodiversity and add back to the flourishing ecosystems at the estate, the spokesman added.

The 4,000-acre site featured in the BBC’s popular Springwatch programme this year.

Dominic Buscall, Wild Ken Hill project  manager, said: “We’d like to take the opportunity to thank the Citizen Zoo team for their great work on this project, as well as all those involved from the other project teams – keep it up!”

Lloyd Park, the estate’s conservation leader and ecologist, added: “Without human intervention, these creatures would likely become extinct in the UK. 

“We need to restore creatures great and small to our natural landscape, so we are thrilled to be part of this important step in the recovery and conservation of large marsh grasshoppers. 

“The way we manage wetter areas here at Ken Hill should provide them with everything they need to become an established important part of the site’s ecology.”