Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Huge hedgehog aids Sir David launch

Bodhi, three, looks up at a model of a hedgehog on Clapham Common in London to mark the launch of Sir David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities

Standing at 7ft tall, 12ft long and 8ft wide, a prickly creature that is bigger than a rhinoceros or 4x4 vehicle has been unveiled to mark the launch of a new Sir David Attenborough series.

The giant hedgehog emerged from two months of hibernation at a workshop - where a team of sculptors crafted him from 2,000 soft wood spikes and fake fur consisting of a willow and coconut fibre-mix - to help Sir David launch his new 10-part series Natural Curiosities.

The wildlife expert described the giant hedgehog, as it was unveiled at Clapham Common in south London, as "a fitting tribute to one of our most delightful species".

Sculptor Andy Billet said: "This was my most challenging brief to date and we spent weeks replicating the skin tones and spikes to make the build as lifelike as possible."

Some 74% of people are concerned about the dwindling numbers of hedgehogs and believe more should be done to protect them, according to a survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by UKTV channel Watch.

It also found 25% of Britons said they had never seen a hedgehog in the wild.

"The fact that a quarter of British adults have never seen a wild hedgehog suggests that we are witnessing rapidly dwindling numbers which is a concern," Sir David said.

"Hedgehogs have some interesting habits and play a very useful part in keeping down all kinds of insect pests. What people don't know about hedgehogs is that in the wild they have vast territories, and they roam for miles on end.

"And how do they mate? Very carefully!"

In the new show - aired on Watch on Tuesdays at 8pm from February 18 - Sir David shares the stories of extraordinary creatures and reveals why he considers them to be nature's curiosities.

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