Scots TV presenter Lorraine Kelly said an argument which suggests “canned hunting” can help animal conservation is “rubbish”.
Supporters of canned hunts, a trophy hunt in which an animal is kept in a confined area, have said that for every captive-bred animal hunted, one in the wild is being saved.
But Kelly said: “I don’t get it. It baffles me. You know the example of Cecil the lion and that dentist in America? What was going through his mind to do that? It makes utterly no sense to me.
“This argument that canned hunting actually helps conservation is rubbish. I do not buy that at all.”
Kelly added: “I have such respect for local people who live in those areas who hunt poachers. They’re so brave because they’re putting their lives on the line to protect the animals.”
Animal lover Kelly will be at the helm for Penguin A&E With Lorraine Kelly. Channel 5’s new four-part series, from production company Remedy, will follow the daily workings of Cape Town’s SANCCOB Western Cape Centre, better known as “penguin hospital”.
Viewers who tune in will see the Dundee-born penguin enthusiast discover the frontline care required to protect South Africa’s endangered penguins.
Kelly, from Broughty Ferry, called her involvement with the series “a dream come true”.
“I am obsessed with penguins,” she said. “I’ve got a penguin gadget that you can plug in and listen to your music. My key has got a penguin on it, and I’ve got a five-foot penguin in my back garden that my husband bought me for my birthday – the most romantic thing he’s ever done.”
She added: “I just love them, always have. Ever since I was a kid when I used to go to Edinburgh Zoo and see the penguin parade.”
The Cape Town hospital rescues more than 1,500 penguins every year and in Tuesday’s first episode a vet has to deal with a penguin which has a fish hook in its stomach.
“The A&E has an ambulance that brings them there,” Kelly said. They go for their operation, then they’re in intensive care, then post-op and then they get all their checks, and if they can swim in the pool for an hour, and if they’re absolutely fit and healthy, they can go.”
She continued: “It’s fantastic. I’m really impressed by the work they’re doing there. It is remarkable. We went down to a penguin colony near Cape Town and then we went to the hospital as well.”
But the 56-year-old broadcaster warned: “Penguin A&E is not a Disney movie.”
“Sadly, they don’t all survive and sometimes the team have to make very hard decisions. But if the penguin is suffering, then they’ve got to put it to sleep,” she said.
Sophie Wurzer Williams, Remedy’s head of factual entertainment, paid tribute to Kelly, describing her as “an absolute joy”.
“I have never worked with someone so passionate about their subject matter,” she said. “She was so excited to be filming with us in South Africa and even on a remote beach, surrounded by penguins in 30-degree heat, she was in her element.”
l Penguin A&E With Lorraine Kelly begins on Channel 5 tomorrow at 9pm.