A WILDLIFE lover is campaigning to save thousands of hedgehogs from being killed on the roads.

Author and ecologist Hugh Warwick, a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, is trying to raise awareness of the addition of hedgehogs – which he calls "the nation’s favourite animal" – to the UK’s red list meaning they are vulnerable to extinction.

It is estimated that over 100,000 hedgehogs are killed on the roads every year.

To help prevent the animal’s extinction Mr Warwick – known in the city as 'Hedgehog Hugh' – is backing a scheme to alert motorists to the risk of killing the prickly mammals by placing wooden cut outs of the animals on the side of roads.

The so-called 'ghost hedgehogs' will be placed beside roads every time one of the animals is killed.

He said they were there to "remind drivers of the lives lost and encourage safer driving".

The scheme was first launched in Dorset but Mr Warwick hoped it would soon be adopted in Oxfordshire.

He said: “The ghost hedgehog idea was born in Dorset but is going to fly around the country. Here in Oxfordshire we have such busy roads and the death toll is one of the reasons the nation’s favourite animal is sadly slipping away.

“We need to do something to encourage motorists at night to take that extra little bit of care and the ghost hedgehog is the perfect way to remind everyone that lives are lost when we drive carelessly.

“So please, if you see a hedgehog dead on the road, make a 'ghost' to act as a reminder. It might just save a life.”

Speaking of the long term risk to hedgehogs, he said: “This is tragic. Hedgehogs provide a point of connection to the natural world more effectively than any other animal.

"They share our gardens and greenspaces, but for that to happen, we need to help them.

“Whether that is making sure there are 'hedgehog highways connecting gardens, or opening a local hedgehog hospital, we need to take action now before it’s too late.”

The number of hedgehogs across the country has been dramatically reduced in the last eight years.

Between 2000 and 2018, Britain’s hedgehog population dropped by 30 per cent in urban areas and 50 per cent in rural areas.