Published: 14:00, 21 September 2017
Queen legend Brian May spoke to youngsters about his fight to save the UK's hedgehogs during a visit to Ditton Infant School today.
The rock guitarist and environmentalist encouraged pupils to do their bit to make the grounds of the Pear Tree Avenue site more friendly to the animals, whose population has plummeted in Britain in recent years.
The visit was organised as part of the Amazing Grace campaign - named in honour of a tiny hoglet who survived against the odds after being hit by a deadly fly infestation at Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue in Surrey.
Dr May, who also holds a doctorate in Astrophysics, said: “The UK’s hedgehogs are in trouble. Our hedgehog population has dropped dramatically from 35 million to less than a million in the last forty years.
“We want to highlight the dangers faced by hedgehogs in Britain today and the threat of how they could be extinct by 2025 - that’s less than 10 years - unless we can help them."
“How shocking that hedgehogs are in danger of extinction in this country. We have destroyed most of the hogs' habitat by over development and ruined what’s left with poisons and restrictions on their movement."
According to a survey carried out by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the number of hedgehog sightings dropped by almost 4% over the last year.
Many factors are thought to have caused the decline, including more intensive farming methods and the loss of natural habitats.