Who or what is responsible for our favourite mammal's decline?
A body lies motionless on the ground. Small, with a snouty head and covered with spines, it is unquestionably dead before its time. And all of those gathered around the corpse are suspect. So which one of them is responsible for this crime – and for the disappearance of many many thousands of hedgehogs in recent decades?
Is it the car driver, the badger, the farmer, the gardener ..? Who could possibly have it in for a hedgehog? In poll after poll, they come out top as our favourite mammal. And yet their numbers are estimated to have halved in less than twenty years. Magnifying glass in hand, Tom Moorhouse investigates the evidence. On a vital mission to bring those responsible to justice, prevent further murder and save a species, he uncovers a story full of twists, turns and uncomfortable truths about the trade-offs that exist between humans and wildlife. But he can also see a solution.
Dr Tom Moorhouse is a conservation research scientist who has worked for twenty years at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, part of Oxford University's Zoology Department. His work has focussed on the conservation ecology of water voles, the management of signal crayfish, hedgehog conservation and the impacts of wildlife tourism. He is the author of Elegy for a River and also award-winning children's fiction. He lives with his wife and daughter in Oxford.
"For those with an interest in endangered species, Tom Moorhouse's Ghosts in the Hedgerow: A Hedgehog Whoddunit is a caring, amiable guide to who (and what) is responsible for the worrying decline of this cute mammal."
– Martin Chilton, Independent
"Tom Moorhouse is brilliant at weaving complex ecological ideas into an easily accessible and very entertaining form – Ghosts in the Hedgerow is a delight."
– Hugh Warwick, ecologist and author of A Prickly Affair
"Hedgehogs have been with us for millions of years, but they seem to be getting less abundant. How do we know, and why is it happening? These are important questions, easy to ask but very difficult to answer. That's partly because the issues are complex, research scanty and hedgehogs are surprisingly difficult to study properly. Tom has written a thorough, but very readable assessment of the challenges posed by the 20th century and what we can do to help the hapless 'Hedgie'."
– Pat Morris, author, and president of the British Hedgehogs Preservation Society
"A wonderfully entertaining and intriguing book. The hedgehog has found its champion."
– Tristan Gooley, author of The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs and How to Read Water
"Jaunty, scholarly, hugely entertaining, wise, deadly serious and downright fun [...] A triumph."
– Charles Foster, author of Cry of the Wild, Being a Human and A Little Brown Sea
"Any project that highlights the plight of hedgehogs is invaluable and Ghosts in the Hedgerow fulfils that task admirably."
– Tim Rice, lyricist, author and host of the Get Onto My Cloud podcast
"By turns hilarious and heart-breaking, Ghosts in the Hedgerow is a triumph of accessible science writing."
– Lee Schofield, author of Wild Fell