Packham gets death threats after shooting ban

TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham has been targetted by vandals who strung up two dead birds on the gate of his country home.
TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham has been targetted by vandals who strung up two dead birds on the gate of his country home.
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TV wildlife expert Chris Packham said he has been sent death threats after backing a legal challenge which resulted in restrictions on shooting “pest” birds.

The BBC Springwatch presenter said he had received “threats of a very serious nature” against him and his family.

Packham was part of an action which resulted in Natural England revoking three general licences which allowed the shooting of 16 species of bird, including crows, magpies, Canada geese and feral and wood pigeons.

He said in an interview: “The police have spent quite a considerable amount of time at my house over the last few days.

“We’ve had packages sent containing human excrement. Last night – I can’t speak too much about what happened last night because I haven’t been in touch with the police yet.”

Asked if there was another threat, he said there was a “much more serious thing”, adding that he had received “death threats of a very serious nature” against him and his family.

Packham said: “I’m very resistant to this sort of thing.”

But added: “What worries me is that the charities that I’m affiliated with, the small businesses that I work for, these people aren’t set up to take this sort of abuse, and yet they’ve had to close their websites, their TripAdvisor accounts have had to be shut down, because they’ve been bombarded by these bullies who want to take aim at me.

“My message is clear. Please, take aim at me, but leave all of the charities, all of the other businesses that I work with, leave them out of it.”

Bodies including the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, Countryside Alliance, and the National Gamekeepers Organisation have written an open letter to Environment Secretary Michael Gove calling on him to launch an investigation into Natural England’s decision.

They complained that the sudden revocation of the licences, which allowed them to freely shoot birds such as carrion crows, wood pigeons, magpies and Canada geese, had left them in chaos.

Natural England, which advises the government on managing the environment, took the decision after it was threatened with legal action by environmentalists.

Wild Justice – whose directors include Packham – sought a judicial review of the licences, which Natural England ultimately decided not to fight, believing it would lose. As a result, three general licences for controlling wild birds were revoked without warning or consultation on 23 April, to be replaced by individual licences.

By Friday, only a new licence allowing the killing of carrion crows had been issued. The issue was catapulted to national attention after the bodies of two dead crows were hung from Packham’s gate two days after Natural England’s decision.

BASC condemned the attack on the presenter’s home but said the new licensing rules are causing havoc.