World Land Trust (WLT) Patron Chris Packham has been honoured with a CBE for services to nature conservation.
Chris is well known for speaking out for persecuted wildlife, sometimes at the risk of his career and reputation, in addition to supporting numerous wildlife charities, including WLT. He presented WLT’s Controversial Conservation debates at the Royal Society, which tackled tough topics such as the environmental impacts of population growth and keeping free-ranging cats as pets.
Speaking out for wildlife
One of his long-standing campaigns is against the tradition of countryside hunts with hounds and riders on horseback which, although illegal to deliberately chase foxes, can end with foxes being killed. As recently as 3 January, Chris urged his local hunt, the New Forest Hounds (NFH) to switch from ‘trail hunting’ to drag hunting, even offering to be the group’s first human quarry.
Chris’s outspoken stance on such issues, including raptor persecution by the grouse hunting community, has led to the Countryside Alliance calling for the BBC to fire him from his influential position as a presenter on popular British wildlife programmes such as Springwatch.
Chris made headlines in 2018 when his crusade to stop the illegal killing and trapping of rare migratory birds on the island of Malta led to his arrest for allegedly assaulting one of the hunters where he was reporting. After producing video evidence for the judge, which proved his innocence, he was acquitted of all charges.
He also launched The People’s Manifesto for Wildlife last year, assessing the most critical concerns affecting the UK landscape and its species with actionable solutions for ecological recovery, written with the aid of 17 independent experts and scientists. He called for a “peaceful public uprising” and led The People’s Walk for Wildlife, where thousands of wildlife lovers marched on Downing Street to raise awareness of the threats facing wildlife, to the sound of a chorus of birdsong played on phones.
Advocating for the rights of wildlife is where Chris attracts the most attention, but he also supports numerous charities, helping them reach a larger audience through his platform as a well-known broadcaster.
WLT is honoured to be one of the charities supported by Chris, and congratulates him on being recognised for his work to protect wildlife. WLT CEO John Burton says “Chris has proved himself to be an outstanding warrior for wildlife, and we are very proud to call him our Patron. His commitment to wildlife conservation goes beyond his concern for his career, and we congratulate him on being honoured for his achievements in the name of protecting our environment.”
Chris commented on his appointment, saying “In an age where illegal fox hunting, the continued persecution of birds of prey and the unscientific, uneconomic and inhumane killing of badgers continue, our wildlife needs a voice to shout above the noise. Maybe the silent have spoken, maybe a terrified fox, a wounded Hen Harrier or a trapped badger whispered and this is their thanks. I’ll take that, say ‘ta very much’ and stop shouting … and start screaming … and I won’t stop until the killing does.”