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Obsession, persecution and passion: the hedgehog may be small, but it attracts strong feelings. And Hugh Warwick is not immune. Travelling through fields in Devon and up to the islands of Scotland, visiting hedgehog hospitals across Britain and the International Hedgehog Olympics in the USA, travelling across China on the trail of the rare hedgehog species hughi, seen only twelve times in a 100 years, Hugh sets out to answer our questions about hedgehogs, from the practical to the sublime.
Considering hedgehogs and birds, featuring Brian May and Ted Hughes, explaining what hedgehogs do when they're not in our gardens and why it is that we like them, this is the funny, eccentric and moving story of one man's quest to understand our deep-rooted affection for these universally known, little-understood animals. Hedgehogs are often our first encounter with the animal world, yet their numbers are now declining rapidly, down 20 per cent in the last ten years (as Hugh knows from his involvement in HogWatch).
From tips on how to make your garden more hedgehog friendly, to explaining how hedgehogs can save the world, Hugh's journey finally leads him to understand that our passion for hedgehogs is indelibly linked to our sense of our countryside, our childhood, and ourselves.
Hugh Warwick has been a hedgehog obsessive for over twenty years, ever since an expedition to the Orkney Islands in the 1986. From radio-tracking hogs in Devon, to working with HogWatch to track the current numbers of hedgehogs in the British Isles, Hugh was also involved in the research which was instrumental in halting the hedgehog cull in the Uists. He makes numerous appearances to talk about hedgehogs, and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society have now made him a trustee and a life-time member in recognition of his contribution. He also talks regularly to the WI, where he asks for payment in cake ... coffee and walnut if possible.
"Most interesting is the proliferation of hedgehog imagery in popular culture, and the fervid enthusiasm shared by hedgehog activists. An oddly satisfying read."
– Jonathan Christison, New Scientist, December 2008 No 2687/8.