March 2012


This is a bit of a local entry – in that it will be of most interest to people who are not too far away from Oxford … but will also be of interest to people passionate about hedgehogs. 

Whenever I give talks I always say how much fun is to be had from getting really close to wild hedgehogs – how much of an insight into the animal can come from simply observing them in their natural habitat. And I also say, if you ever see a note from someone looking for volunteers to help them with some research – grab the opportunity in both hands and don’t let go …. 

And now there is a fantastic opportunity for people who are keen to commit themselves to some hard work – and in return get a chance to help us understand more about the reasons why hedgehog numbers in the UK are plummeting. 

The amazing WildCRU of Oxford University has recently taken on a researcher to help us answer these questions – in fact I was so tempted to apply to do the research myself, but as I am on the steering group that set the project up there was a clash of interests. The money for the project has come from the PTES and the BHPS.

Now that researcher has put out a call for volunteers

In fact I can save you the bother of following that link – all you need to know is here:

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Dedicated volunteers are required from late March for a hedgehog study. This will form part of an exciting new study to look at hedgehog behaviour in relation to habitat in the rural landscape. Volunteers will have the unique opportunity to observe first-hand a variety of techniques being used including footprint tunnels, radio-tracking and macro-invertebrate surveys. Successful candidates will be required to assist in tracking hedgehogs at night at study sites in the Oxford area. Additionally there will be some day time work quantifying habitat at the study sites and surveying for macro-invertebrates.

The ideal candidates will be enthusiastic, robust, energetic and committed. They will be able to carry out fieldwork as part of a small team, through the night and early morning, outdoors and in all weather conditions. They will preferably be located, or be able to locate themselves in the Oxford area as accommodation, unfortunately, cannot be provided. Applicants must be available for a minimum of three specific weeks or longer from late March to October and preferably hold a driving licence.

Please email CV including two references to carly.easby@zoo.ox.ac.uk.

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This is a wonderful opportunity … please spread the word … and you might even meet me out there – it is hard to resist the opportunity to get back out with my hedgehogs!

 

Okay – an experiment. Or a warning!

Things are going to be changing around here in the next month or so, my new website is being built to arrive in time for the launch of my new book, The Beauty in the Beast (published by Simon and Schuster at the end of April). And part of this new website will be a little additional bit to go with the book – I recorded all of the interviews with my wonderful animal advocates, and am now in the process of editing them into short pieces … so not only will you be able to read about these amazing people, you will be able to hear them too.

And here are two of them and I would really like to know what you think. Would this be something you would like to hear in addition to the book? Do you think it will help me to sell copies of the book? Please do let me know.

First – Gareth Morgan, the mid-Wales badgerman and

Second – Huma Pearce, Mostly Bats!

Oh – and to give you a little extra treat – here are a some pictures too

Luv Song

How could I not know that the great Benjamin Zephaniah had written a poem about a hedgehog? Why is this not major news?

Okay – it was actually published in 1994, so possibly I missed the press release – but even so it was a delightful surprise to start getting emails from friends telling me that I should get the latest issue of Resurgence. I love the magazine but have stopped reading it due to the volume of other material I get … so it was lovely to have the excuse to wallow in its pages once more. There is a very pretty little illustration with it as well which I copy here from Stu Jones’ website (and I will remove it once I get the answer I am seeking … there is a mission behind this posting …. )

But to the poem, it starts:

Luv Song

I am in luv wid a hedgehog

I’ve never felt this way before

I have luv fe dis hedgehog

An everyday I luv her more an more

And it goes on – and I love it as he loves the hedgehog … and I am wondering whether we can do something with this like we did a few posts ago with the amazing Turkish artist Elvan Alpay … with that post I asked if there was anyone who knew anyone who might know her and within 36 hours I was in email touch thanks to my brother in law … so … using the Kevin Bacon game principle that we are all interconnected … could we see how long it takes me to get in touch with Benjamin Zephaniah? I have been to his website and I can approach him through an agent, but I am sure that someone I know knows someone who knows someone who knows Benjamin! So spread the word … and see if it works again! Thanks.