When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Queen guitarist lends his support to Oxford author's new book
QUEEN guitarist Brian May has been happy to use his fame as a rock star to campaign for greater compassion and appreciation for badgers, foxes and British wildlife.
Now he has backed an Oxford-based writer by penning a foreword for the author’s latest book.
Hugh Warwick’s The Beauty in The Beast: Britain’s Favourite Creatures and the People Who Love Them offers an affectionate portrait of English eccentricity, as well as the hidden wonders of wildlife in this country.
It came out in paperback earlier this year, and Mr May said of the book in his foreward: “It is a gentle weapon of war against those who threaten the well-being and the very existence of our precious and entirely innocent wild animals.
“We have become so far removed from the magic of nature that we need strong reminders to reconnect us.
“Warwick gives us every possible reason to fall in love all over again with the natural world.”
The idea of writing a book about the beasts of Britain came to Mr Warwick, of Florence Park, after he earlier wrote a book devoted to hedgehogs, called A Prickly Affair. In the book he declared that “the hedgehog was the most important species on the planet” and that “in its grubby little paws was held the key to the salvation of humanity”.
For his latest book, he drew up a list of animal enthusiasts with a view to writing a chapter on each of them.
The first person was Ivan Wright, who introduced him to the joys of observing solitary bees.
Mr Warwick joined him on expeditions in Shotover Hill, Oxford, to find how far bees travelled in search of food.
Despite having to take early retirement from his career as a microclimatologist because of difficulties with his eyesight, Mr Wright has been able to pursue his obsession with the minute beauty of bees.
His data revealed Shotover to be a hotspot for bees and one of the best sites in the county, with 99 bee species, allowing him to argue for improved protection for the area.
The author found a keen advocate for the robin in Dr Andrew Lack, a specialist in pollination at Oxford Brookes University.
And a powerful case is put for foxes by Oxford fox expert David MacDonald, who began work on foxes back in 1972, and went on to become Oxford University’s first professor of wildlife conservation.
The Beauty in the Beast is published by Simon and Schuster, price £8.99.
Comments are closed on this article.