Book Review – Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud

Haeckel's EmbryosHaeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud

Written by Nick Hopwood

Published in hardback in June 2015 by Chicago University Press

Readers of our newsletter may remember Haeckel’s Embryos as my pick of 2015. A more in-depth review therefore seems in order.

The German naturalist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) is a figure I initially mostly knew from his beautiful Art Nouveau style drawings of animals and sea creatures, published as Kunstformen der Natur between 1899 and 1904. These perennially popular images have found their way into art books, an as yet unpublished pop-up book, and have of course not escaped the current colouring book craze.

Far more influential, however, are Haeckel’s contributions to the field of embryology and the now (in)famous images of grids showing embryos of humans and other backboned animals looking almost identical when just forming, and diverging in form during development. These images have become iconic, classics of textbooks right up to our current day, but are also some of the most fought-over images in the history of science, being the subject of three separate controversies, each one bigger still than the last one.

Haeckel’s Embryos is a study of how images of knowledge succeed and become the stuff of legends, or fail and fall by the wayside as forgotten side notes in history. Hopwood gives an incredibly detailed account of both the formation and the afterlife of Haeckel’s embryo drawings, and the accusations of fraud leveled at him. And you get a lot of book for your money, with 17 chapters running just over 300 pages and another 80 pages of notes and references. Measuring some 22 × 28 cm this is a large-format study that is richly illustrated (as befits a book of this type) with a large number of historical illustrations that have never appeared outside of their original context, a great many of which were dug out of the archives of the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus in Jena, Germany.

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An example of embryological drawings circulating at the time

The book proceeds roughly chronologically, with the first three chapters setting the stage by reviewing the academic milieu into which Haeckel stepped, and the kinds of embryological drawings already circulating at the time. In chapter 5, then, Hopwood starts the investigation proper. He carefully reconstructs the making of the figures which were first published 1868 in Haeckel’s book Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, and looks at each step from planning and drawing through to printing and publishing, mining Haeckel’s archives for both original drawings and correspondence with his publisher. This book went through eleven editions over more than forty years (1868-1909) and it is interesting to see how the famous grid developed gradually from initial pairs of drawings of two stages of dog, human, chick, and turtle embryos. The first “recognisable” grid (i.e. still circulating today ) didn’t emerge until inclusion in Haeckel’s more embryo-focused book Anthropogenie in 1874, which went through six editions until 1910.

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Haeckel’s embryo grid during its development

His work immediately came in for criticism from fellow scientists, starting mid-1869 with the Swiss zoologist Ludwig Rütimeyer. Though no outright accusations of fraud and forgery were made, one of Rütimeyer’s concerns was Haeckel playing fast and loose with the public and with science by reusing the same woodcut illustration to represent early-stage pictures of dog, chicken and turtle. This was quickly rectified in the next edition, though Haeckel was slow to admit to his mistake. This barely caused a ripple on the pond, and Hopwood does a good job of making you realise why: this was an era in which discussions between scientists took place in either private correspondence, or in publications in obscure specialist literature, here the Archiv für Anthropologie, that was only circulated locally and will not have been read by more than a few hundreds of people. No, the first proper controversy did not take place until 1875, and saw Haeckel pitted against the Swiss anatomist Wilhelm His. One of the things they disagreed on was the similarity (Haeckel) or difference (His) of early embryos.

What is shocking is how Haeckel responded to this. I have never really had a good idea of the man’s character, and solely based on his beautiful artwork for Kunstformen der Natur have always thought of him benignly. Hopwood’s history reveals a rather different side to the man; he fashioned himself as a daring pioneer, here to enlighten the ignorant public (so much for humility), and his polemic responses to opponents bristle with arrogance, provocation and ad hominem attacks. He also refused to acknowledge mistakes, and countered charges of forgery – remarkably it was Haeckel himself who introduced this word in the discussion – as necessary deductions to fill in gaps, and as a logical consequence of presenting schematic figures. Although this soiled his reputation, the lack of a hostile consensus allowed Haeckel to draw ever more ambitious grids including more species. And the continued popularity of his work meant that the sheer number of books and later pamphlets in circulation made his pictures the most widely known and accessible in this era of print. It did spur his colleagues to set higher and higher standards for vertebrate embryology and push the field as a whole forward.

The next couple of chapters explore the 1870s to 1900s, discussing the expansion of Haeckel’s grids, how non-scientists encountered his work, how his work was reproduced and copied, and how critics kept the issue of forgery alive by repeating the allegations. These chapters make for especially revealing reading. Although Haeckel’s drawings were more available in Germany, the critics were also more numerous here, so copying was more extensive in Britain and the US. This also largely had to do with the available techniques for image reproduction at the time, which were both cumbersome and costly. And it was not until 1892 that George John Romanes reproduced the entire grid in his book Darwin and After Darwin. This reproduction also graces the dustjacket of Haeckel’s Embryos and to this day is the most reproduced and recognisable figure in Anglophone textbooks. But most copying was creative, with authors borrowing a few figures, deleting columns, adding rows, changing drawings, etc.

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Romanes’s version of the grid

The second big controversy erupted around 1908-1910, when private scholar Arnold Brass became a spokesman for the freshly formed Kepler League, a club formed in response to a large public lecture that Haeckel gave. Following a lecture by Brass in which he attacked Haeckel, Haeckel returned the attack in a magazine, in response to which Brass privately published a slanderous pamphlet. The ensuing backing and forthing played out not in difficult books and serious periodicals, but in widely read newspapers. Brass’s pamphlet was so radical that it embarrassed even his own Kepler League. And it back-fired when morphologists recruited a large number of professors and museum directors to sign a declaration (“the declaration of the forty-six”), which, while not justifying Haeckel’s actions where his drawings were concerned, could see no motive for fraud. At the same time the declaration condemned Brass and the Kepler League for slandering such a respected biologist. This largely ended this controversy, partially in Haeckel’s favour. In his late life in Germany Haeckel was defended, forgiven, or reviled, depending on people’s political and religious inclinations. But the scientific community at large was more than happy to let bygones be bygones.

In the English-speaking world, in the meantime, too few of the exact allegations regarding his images were known in-depth, which meant the images still had a lease of life. And chapter 16 is a very interesting chapter telling the story of how the grid images survived into modern textbooks. Although faux-pas in postwar Germany, and only occasionally adopted in British schools, they were a relative staple in American textbooks. A combination of the higher profile of evolution as a subject in the American system in the early 20th century, and little knowledge of the forgery charges, meant the pictures could survive there. The rising and falling tides of anti-evolutionist sentiment did mean they were often modified and redacted, leaving out the human embryos. This further ensured their survival as it made them less radical. Another factor of influence was the inner workings of the textbook industry, where busy authors tended to copy each other or themselves rather than spend time to go back to the sources. Later on, the shift from authors to production teams meant that authors critical of Haeckel had less influence. In a further ironic twist, the Romanes drawing of Haeckel’s grid was often used while at the same time criticizing Haeckel in the accompanying body of the text. Interestingly, embryology textbooks long excluded the drawings, as their focus was not on evolution at the time. Experimental embryology as a field languished for decades until the 1960s when the field was reframed as developmental biology, although it took until the mid-1980s for Haeckel’s figures to be introduced to this discipline. By that time a new generation was only vaguely, or not at all, aware anymore of the accusations leveled at Haeckel. This knowledge was by now mostly limited to historians of biology, and even then many Anglophone historians were unaware. The few that weren’t did not realize how much the pictures were still in use (Hopwood counts himself among this group). This nicely undercuts the assumption that images and theories are linked so closely together that they live and die in unison. And this sets the stage for the third and final controversy surrounding these images.

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An example of the embryo drawings surviving into contemporary books

The final two chapters detail the third and (for the moment) final controversy, which was set in motion by Michael Richardson (incidentally a lecturer of mine when I was studying at Leiden University in the 2000s). In several low-profile publications he criticized Haeckel’s drawings and, after comparing a wide range of vertebrate embryos, he concluded that “there is no highly conserved embryonic stage in the vertebrates”. To really get the spotlight on his findings however, he lured the press with a charge of forgery which was picked up by the Times, followed by Science and New Scientist. From here on outwards the story exploded and was rapidly exploited by creationists and the burgeoning Intelligent Design movement who threw around wild claims that “a primary pillar of evolution had finally been revealed as fraudulent” and, gasp, evolution was truly “a theory in crisis”. Richardson, embarrassed by the misappropriation of his publications and the misinformation that was being spread, started back-pedalling, and came under critique from colleagues in the field. He could have seen this one coming after all. But many came to his defense and even Stephen Jay Gould weighed in with a column in Natural History magazine, separating Richardsons’s “good science” from “careless reporting” and “media hype”. Richardson publisher a further long review, finding only “some evidence of doctoring”. Evo-devo aficionados debated the issue among themselves for a few more years, and the general consensus to come out of that was that on a fundamental level Haeckel was right, but he had taken artistic license in schematising his drawings. This was too late to affect mainstream perception though, and creationists, headed by the conservative think-tank The Discovery Institute, kept on adding fuel to the fire with books, public TV debates and, with the rise of the internet, websites and blogs. Ironically, recent research in developmental biology showed that embryological similarity between species at early stages isn’t just limited to morphology, but extends to gene expression patterns. In spite of this, Intelligent Design proponents have kept the focus on the most problematic images. Hopwood likens them to the iconoclasts of the Protestant Reformation, showing off beheaded statues as emblems of defeat. It is not in their best interest to remove all traces of these images, but rather to constantly exhibit them to vilify and condemn evolutionary theory and further their own agenda. Throughout all this circus the images were of course reproduced, copied and spread further and wider than ever before.

When I read about this book, I was hoping it would answer the question “Given what we now know about embryology, how do Haeckel’s images compare? What details did he change that gave rise to all these controversies?”. Seeing that this book claims to be a definitive history, and in pretty much all other respects is, I would have liked to see a concluding chapter laying out our current state of biological knowledge and see the old images compared to what we know now. Hopwood does reproduce some of the comparative images that Richardson published in his articles, but if you really want to get to the bottom of those questions, you will have to take a look there. This is understandable though: Hopwood is a historian, so the book focuses foremost on the history of these images, not so much on the biology behind it. And when he describes the third controversy he does mention the current consensus (Haeckel embellished but fundamentally makes a valid point) and the various opinions that now circulate. But a separate chapter laying out and summarizing just the biological facts then and now would for me have really completed the work, even at the risk of repeating what is already present diffusely throughout the book.

A lot more things are covered than I have mentioned here, and particular attention is paid to the religious and political milieu in Germany at the turn of the 19th century in which the first two controversies took place. A lot of this will be unfamiliar territory for today’s readers (it certainly was for me), and the book might have benefited from some side boxes introducing certain historical periods or schools of thought.

Those criticisms aside, in my opinion Hopwood offers readers an incredibly thorough and objective account of the complete 140+ year history of these controversial images. And I expect Haeckel’s Embryos will rapidly become the go-to work for both biologists and historians to understand their full, rich, and complex history.

Haeckel’s Embryos is available to order from NHBS.

Book Review – Seeds: Safeguarding Our Future

Seeds: Safeguarding Our FutureSeeds: Safeguarding Our Future

Written by Carolyn Fry

Published in hardback in April 2016 by Ivy Press

With a topic such as seeds and Ivy Press’s reputation for beautiful books you would be forgiven for thinking that this might be another coffee-table book in the same vein as the successful series of books published by Papadakis on seeds, pollen, and fruit. Although richly illustrated, Seeds: Safeguarding Our Future is very much a popular introduction to the biology of plants, focusing on seeds in particular, with pithy chapters covering evolution of plants, reproduction, seed dispersal, and germination. The subtitle gives away the angle this book takes though, with the first chapter on the importance of seeds to humanity, and the final chapter on how we might use seed biodiversity to ensure our own survival in the future. Though modern agriculture can feed many, its monoculture approach has also led to the loss of a large amount of genetic diversity. The dangers this could pose, especially with the impact of a changing climate, is a theme that runs throughout the book. Each chapter ends with a profile of a well-known plant and a profile of one of the many seed banks around the world that operate to conserve and catalogue the genetic diversity of plants.

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Carolyn Fry is well-placed to write on this topic, having previously published books on Kew’s Millenium Seed Bank Project and on plant hunters. Furthermore, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens have endorsed the book and several of their experts have contributed expert advice. The book is a good primer on plant biology, and I noticed the short sections on, for example, reproduction were a great way to brush up on my slightly forgotten textbook knowledge. The seed bank profiles, pretty much one for each continent, are interesting little sections, highlighting the important work done here to safeguard against future threats to agricultural crops. Though shortly mentioned in the final chapter, I would have loved to have seen the futuristic Svalbard Global Seed Vault profiled in the same way. As a planetary back-up of agricultural seed collections around the world, this surely is one of the most impressive and intriguing seed banks.

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All in all this is an excellent introduction to seed biology with a focus on conservation and agricultural importance, executed to Ivy Press’s typical high production standards.

Seeds: Safeguarding Our Future is available to order from NHBS.

Book Review – The Book of Frogs: A Lifesize Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World

The Book of FrogsThe Book of Frogs: A Lifesize Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World

Edited by Tim Halliday

Published in hardback in January 2016 by Ivy Press

Ivy Press brand themselves as makers of beautiful books and The Book of Frogs is a fine example of this. These pictorial books (which we have informally dubbed The Book of… Series) have so far covered fungi, eggs, beetles, leaves, and now frogs (note: if you live on the other side of the Atlantic pond you might have noticed that Chicago University Press has the rights for the US).

Like the other books, The Book of Frogs is a hefty tome, weighing in at 2.3 kg, and portrays 600 representative species from across the Anuran family tree. It includes common and endangered species, and even some which sadly have since gone extinct. A short, 30-page section introduces the reader to the basics of frog biology, including their life cycle, calls, population trends and threats, diseases, and taxonomy. The text is aimed at a broad audience with little or no prior knowledge. Terminology is explained, and a 4-page glossary is included in the back (although does anyone really need to have things like “armpit” and “groin” defined for them?). The text is free from footnotes, and is not referenced, although a very short section with recommended reading is included; and there was the occasional factoid that aroused my curiosity (e.g. the specific frequency range of frog’s hearing means females are effectively deaf to males of other species) and made me want to look at the underlying literature – but it’s no great loss.

Book of Frogs internal image 1
The meat of the book is the 600 brilliantly illustrated pages that follow, each profiling a species. The same layout is followed throughout the book with the top third displaying some technical data: species name; adult size range; a table with family, synonymy, distribution, adult and larval habitat, and conservation status; a world map illustrating distribution; and a line drawing. The bottom two-thirds of the page contains a caption and two paragraphs of text giving a morphological description, some particulars on behaviour, reproduction etc., and a description of similar species. The real highlight is of course the photo content. A huge number of individuals and organizations have been approached to source high-quality images, which have been painstakingly cut out of their background. Most photos are duplicated, one life-size, the other blown up or scaled down. They highlight the diverse and sometimes bizarre appearance of frogs. Look out for the large-mouthed Surinam Horned Frog, the spectacularly coloured poison frogs in the family Dendrobatidae, or the barely frog-like Purple Frog. The book is a delight to flip through.

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Obviously, this book is not intended as a field guide or identification guide. Neither is it in-depth enough to be considered a fauna or encyclopedia, nor an iconography such as coleopterists and conchologists understand this term, although it does remind one of this to some extent. Given its global coverage, you can of course only give a selective cross-section in 600 pages. But calling it a mere coffee table book would not do justice to the carefully curated text. To my mind this book is squarely aimed at the armchair naturalist and those who love beautiful books, as the books in this series are eminently collectible. They make perfect gifts too.

Ivy Press has hit on a very successful formula here and I’m curious to see what will be next (butterflies, feathers, shells?). There are plenty of other small and colourful things to be found in the natural world that could be pictured in this format.

The Book of Frogs is available to order from NHBS.

The Beauty in the Beast: Hugh Warwick, ecologist and writer, on hedgehogs, boring piddocks and the badger question

The Beauty in the Beast jacket imageHugh Warwick’s The Beauty in the Beast: Britain’s Favourite Creatures and the People Who Love Them started as Hugh’s participation in an art project – to get 100 people to each have a tattoo of one of the 100 species from the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan. This led to a year-long journey to find and meet with kindred spirits: people who, like Hugh, have more than just a soft spot for a particular animal. What follows is an amusing romp through the sometimes eccentric underbelly of Britain’s wildlife enthusiasts.

To start, I would like to ask you the same question you asked the animal ambassadors you interviewed for The Beauty in the Beast. Why hedgehogs? What has driven you to spend 25 years of your life studying hedgehogs, and to speak in public about your fascination with this creature?

I am an ecologist by training and my interest in hedgehogs started from a research project I was doing nearly 30 years ago up in Orkney. It became clear that there were very few people looking at what hedgehogs actually do – so to use an ecological term, there was a fairly empty niche for me to enter. Over the years the time I spent with hedgehogs also began to help me change my perspective on our relationships with the natural world – getting nose-to-nose with a real wild animal is important and something I advocate.

My enthusiasm has yet to wane, and that is transmitted when I talk. And because everyone (or at least nearly everyone) has a soft spot for hedgehogs, it enables me to start talking about complex ecological concepts in a very non-threatening way. So whether it is to do with wildlife management (hedgehogs as predators of birds’ eggs in the Outer Hebrides, potentially the cause of bird population decline etc), or how hedgehog numbers are being affected by badgers due to their ‘asymmetric intraguild predatory relationship’ (I love getting a class of primary school children chanting that… just imagine the faces of their parents when they repeat it at home!), the hedgehog provides an accessible way to start the conversation.

What does your writing process look like?

When I sit down to work I know what the big picture is going to be (or at least I have an idea of what I want) but have very little idea of the details. My research process – frequently involving a lot of long, recorded interviews that are then painstakingly transcribed – begins to clarify the form. And then I can start to write, using the initial plan as a skeleton and the research to flesh it out. The physical exertions of writing have surprised me – at the end of a good day I feel as exhausted as if I had been playing sport or dancing for hours! And sometimes the good day can be wonderfully brief – a splurge of 1,000 good words in a couple of hours. Though there are other days when the slightest sentence can feel like pulling teeth!

Was there any animal that you would have liked to feature in The Beauty in the Beast, but for which you could not find an ambassador?

The boring piddock. I really wanted to meet an expert in this amazing mollusc! There were so many other animals I wanted to write about – I have another book-full of ideas ready to roll if anyone wants to commission the sequel!

One of the things that struck me while reading this book is that most of the interviewees seem to shy away from publicity, with the exception, perhaps, of yourself and Miriam Darlington (author of Otter Country). Many seem content to intensively study their local patch. To what extent do their locally-focused efforts towards conservation, protection, or reintroduction filter into national or even international conservation work?

Most people are working with other organisations in some form, and even the most misanthropic are contributing data to various monitoring programmes. And that is crucial – love is all well and good, but I believe it is assisted by knowledge. Those who fear knowledge are missing out. In my interview with Professor David Macdonald from the University of Oxford, we ended up concluding that ‘It is a mistake to think that things retain their magic better if they aren’t understood.’

Also – to be honest – both Miriam and myself have books to sell, so we make a point of being ‘out there’. Most of the other people I met are either employed doing their work, or supported by other means. I have an advantage in that I really enjoy talking about nature – and it seems I am quite good at it (judging by the response of audiences so far … but I am not complacent!)

Organisations like the WWF and Greenpeace have done a tremendous amount of work to highlight the value and importance of biodiversity and species protection. Still, some people are frustrated with what might be considered the bogged-down bureaucracies of larger organisations. This in turn has led to the rise of splinter groups, such as Sea Shepherd and the Animal Liberation Front, who will resort to sometimes extreme measures to further the cause of the animals they seek to protect. These people could be construed as being animal ambassadors as well, yet they don’t feature in your book. What are your thoughts on their work, and was there a conscious decision to not approach such groups, or do you simply not move in these circles?

I have great respect for people who engage in non-violent direct action, in fact I made a film about it for the Quakers called Nonviolence for a Change. It looked at a wide range of people’s involvement – looking at why people get involved and how best to achieve your aims.

The purpose of The Beauty in the Beast was to look for enthusiasts who were also deeply embedded with research and observation. I have plenty of contacts in the world of more assertive campaigning, but that was not where I was interested in going. I think there is something very interesting to be written about the motivations behind the animal rights movement – what is it that helps form those points of view?

Also – I was very keen that my book was a gentle introduction to wider and more challenging political considerations. Better that 100,000 people read a gentle introduction to a pathway that might lead to a more rounded consideration of animal rights than to write a polemic that is read by 1,000 supporters of animal rights.

Your book deals with some very topical issues. Not least the chapter about badgers, which discusses at length the now-imminent large-scale culling of badgers. An earlier large randomised culling trial had unexpected side effects; by disturbing social groups, surviving members would move out and establish new groups, spreading bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to new areas. Are these new proposals any better, or will history repeat itself?

Interestingly, my fox man – Professor David Macdonald, head of the University of Oxford’s Wildlife and Conservation Research Unit – was the first person to describe the perturbation effect you mention in relation to foxes. It has now been seen to apply to badgers as well. I have yet to meet a wildlife ecologist who thinks that the cull is a good idea. The way to prevent perturbation overwhelming any benefits that might possibly accrue from fewer badgers is to ensure that 70% of the badgers in a restricted area are killed, repeatedly, and over a number of years. This will lead to a best-case reduction in the transmission of bTB of 16%.

Of the many thousands of badgers due to be killed, the vast majority will not have bTB because most badgers do not carry it (and also, remember, the badgers originally caught the disease from cattle). There are also concerns about the welfare of the culling process.

Oh, it makes me angry – I am an ecologist and I can see that there is no sense in this cull. The reason it is going ahead – well here is something I have just read: ‘A statement reported in the Veterinary record, made by Professor John Bourne in 2008 to the annual conference of the Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work aptly summarises the situation. He said “I think the most interesting observation was made to me by a senior politician, who said, ‘Fine, John, we accept your science, but we have to offer farmers a carrot. And the only carrot we can possibly give them is culling badgers’”’

There is, furthermore, a lot of resistance in society to this cull. Eradication of rodent pests such as rats seems more accepted, especially where public health profits. Are we being squeamish now that an iconic species is targeted, and should we accept this is a necessary evil to protect our cattle, or is labelling badgers as a pest unjustified and not scientifically sound?

I am not opposed to lethal control. I am opposed to ecologically illiterate politicians trying to win votes through killing badgers. And this is coming from someone who would love to see fewer badgers in the countryside at the moment as they are one of the reasons for the decline in hedgehog numbers (I should point out that badgers and hedgehogs would be able to live together fine in a less industrialised agricultural desert).

Badgers can be a pest – they get into crops and cause damage. They can spread bTB to cattle. But there is a landed class of people running the country who have a mindset so warped by privilege and entitlement that they believe their power should allow them to exterminate any of the lesser beings in their way. I am sure it is no fluke that the same government that is dismantling the welfare state is also happy to have buzzards killed to protect a few of the 35 million pheasants released each year in our very own glorified ‘canned hunt’.

What has happened since publishing The Beauty in the Beast? Have you met up with some of the people you have interviewed since?

I am in touch with many of my ambassadors. Sadly I attended the funeral of my wonderful badger man, Gareth Morgan. In fact I was in touch with all of them recently as the paperback is just out and I wanted to let them know – especially as the book now has a foreword from Brian May! That was a bit of a wonderful connection – I met him when I was compèring a large wildlife event in Surrey and after a chat he asked if I would like him to write something for the book. And he has been so generous with his praise – you can read his bit on my blog. He describes it as, “a gentle weapon of war against those who threaten the well-being and the very existence of our precious and entirely innocent wild animals.” And goes on to say that it is, “Gently wise, the facts are delightfully delivered with a good dose of humour. Warwick gives us every possible reason to fall in love all over again with the natural world; it is a love which, in the coming crucial months and years, will inspire us to fight for a compassionate world.”

If I had been sat down and told to write a puff piece for my own work I could not have been more fulsome!

As for what else I have been up to – I am being booked up already for next year for talks and I have been getting rather involved with opposition to the badger cull as well.

When we recently met, you mentioned writing a new book. Is there any news on this?

I have an idea that is a natural continuation from my first two books – but this time focussed more on the landscape. Hedgehogs – and most of the other animals I have written about – are suffering enormously from habitat fragmentation. It is not just the loss of habitat, but the loss of large, uninterrupted patches of habitat that is the issue. The simplest of examples is your own garden – if there is a wall or fence with concrete footings all around your garden then hedgehogs cannot get in … we have launched a great campaign to tackle this by the way, called Hedgehog Street.

But my next book will look at fragmentation and reconnection on a much wider scale than just our gardens. It will force us to view the landscape differently and encourage a more empathic relationship with the natural world (there, no small ambition!)

The Beauty in the Beast available now



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