Steve Backshall and Brian May – with hedgehog
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Tuesday 13 June 2017
Brian May on “Meet The Hedgehogs”
Queen’s Brian May and naturalist Steve Backshall on Meet The Hedgehogs
10 June 2017 by Vicki Power
QUEEN guitarist Brian May and naturalist Steve Backshall team up to save Britain’s hedgehogs.
He may be a rock god, but Queen guitarist Brian May is also an animal campaigner of note. Already famous for fighting against fox hunting and the government’s badger cull, last year Brian set up a hedgehog charity, Amazing Grace, in Windlesham, Surrey.
The reason? Hedgehogs are in catastrophic decline in the UK. Sixty years ago it was estimated that 30 million hedgehogs called the UK home; now only about a million remain. Loss of habitat as a result of overdevelopment, the use of insecticides that kill their food, a penchant for fenced-off lawns that prevent them roaming, and collisions with cars and lawn strimmers are mostly to blame.
Determined to help, last year Brian teamed up with Anne Brummer of Surrey’s Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue. They’d already launched the Save Me animal rights campaign in 2009 to fight fox hunting and badger culls, and now they’ve set up Amazing Grace.
“All kinds of people in the public eye talk a lot about the extinction of tigers,” muses Brian, 69. “The hedgehog in our own country is declining at roughly the same rate the tiger is, so you have to think we should really be dealing with what’s on our doorstep first.” Rock god to hedgehog hero is an unlikely trajectory… “I’m not a hero. I just do what I can,” demurs Brian. “If I hadn’t met Anne, none of this would have happened. I had the will in my life, I always felt for animals, but I didn’t have any skills and I didn’t have any knowledge. Because I’m well-known, I’m able to have an effect out there, and so it’s good to use notoriety to good effect.”
Brian sprinkles stardust on this week’s Channel 5 documentary Meet The Hedgehogs, presented by Steve Backshall, which highlights the charity’s work, reveals what we can do to make our gardens hedgehog friendly, and generally celebrates the UK’s only spiky mammal.
Anne and her team at Harper Asprey rescue about 750 hedgehogs every year and provide round-the-clock care in nursing them back to health. But Steve also meets private individuals who’ve dedicated their lives to helping the little creatures. Continued here