In 1983, Anne Brummer was was walking her dog when she spotted a hedgehog squirming in a wire fence. Curious, she approached it and, upon inspection, realized it was not simply caught but bleeding. She was carrying pliers, so she twisted the wire away, picked up the animal, and brought it to the nearest vet.
The animal was stitched, but couldn’t be released until it healed. This began Brummer’s work as a wildlife rehabilitator, an effort which continues to this day.
As time went on, her efforts drew attention and donations from a variety of people, among them Brian May, the guitarist of Queen. An animal lover, he began to check on Brummer’s efforts regularly. His interest grew… but he had other irons in the fire, including touring and pursuing his studies in astrophysics.
In 2007, May earned his doctorate in astrophysics. With that accomplishment under his belt, he was able to devote more time to British wildlife. In 2009, he worked with Brummer to begin an international conservation fund, and in 2013 they founded the Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue on land owned by the rock star.
Harper Asprey rehabilitates a variety of animals… foxes, owls, badgers, deer and others… but the hedgehogs, tied to the origin of Brummer’s work and among May’s favorite creatures, are receiving an extra level of attention.
In 2016, the pair began a new project. While the UK once boasted more than 30 million hedgehogs, the population has dwindled over half a century to less than 1 million. Construction killed many, automobiles killed even more, and now the poison commonly used by gardeners to kill slugs has resulted in dead hedgehogs as they eat the tainted gastropods. After finding a grievously injured hedgehog and watching it beat long odds for survival, the creature, named “Grace”, became the face of a new campaign… to keep the animals alive and thriving.
It’s not what most people think of when they hear “rock and roll lifestyle”, but they probably don’t think about “writing a doctoral thesis on astrophysics”, either.
Question of the night: Have you visited an animal rescue?