Wildlife presenter Chris Packham goes to war with 'country set'
Springwatch host Chris Packham goes to war with ‘country set’ and says they have trashed Scotland’s natural landscape
- Packham also hit out at number of birds of prey killed & number of prosecutions
- His comments sparked a fierce backlash from those working in rural areas
Wildlife presenter Chris Packham claims Scotland’s natural landscape has been ‘trashed by the country set’ and that birds of prey are regularly being ‘killed with impunity’.
The controversial conservationist said he was amazed by the lack of prosecutions over the deaths of golden eagles and hen harriers.
He also insisted large predators would also be shot dead if reintroduced.
Accusing landowners and gamekeepers of having ‘a vested interest in this wickedness’ the BBC Springwatch host called for moorlands to be rewilded.
But his comments sparked a fierce backlash from those working in rural areas who slammed his ‘deeply prejudiced views’ about shooting estates and the communities they support.
Mr Packham told the Herald: ‘I love Scotland. It’s the wildlife capital of the UK with so many beautiful, sexy species.
Wildlife presenter Chris Packham claims Scotland’s natural landscape has been ‘trashed by the country set’ and that birds of prey are regularly being ‘killed with impunity’
The 62-year-old also hit out at the number of birds of prey killed in Scotland and the tiny number of prosecutions brought
‘But we’re killing eagles; burning moorlands and damaging that rich environment. Large parts have been trashed by the country set.
‘Those grouse moors are not serving Scotland well. They do massive reputational damage.
‘Glen Coe could be the Yellowstone of the UK. It has the natural structure but its current contrived landscape is not for wildlife.’
The 62-year-old also hit out at the number of birds of prey killed in Scotland and the tiny number of prosecutions brought.
He said: ‘The agencies which have a vested interest in this wickedness such as the Countryside Alliance, the Moorland Association and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association all deny this is a serious issue, but it’s wilful blindness on their part.
‘The amount of killing that goes on is unbelievable. Golden eagles in the Angus glens and, staggeringly, these crimes are taking place in the Cairngorm National Park.’
Discussing plans to reintroduce large predators, such as lynx, he said: ‘Sadly, the landowners would just shoot the wolves.
‘Eagles and hen harriers are killed with seeming impunity, so wolves would have no chance.’
Springwatch host Chris Packham says ‘country set’ have trashed Scotland’s natural landscape (stock image)
The controversial conservationist said he was amazed by the lack of prosecutions over the deaths of golden eagles (pictured) and hen harriers
He also appealed for Glen Coe to be rewilded, saying: ‘Much of Glen Coe was covered by trees, making it a far richer habitat for wildlife and native species. Now much of it just looks barren.’
But Ross Ewing, director of Moorland at Scottish Land & Estates, last night claimed the TV presenter was pushing a poorly informed and flawed narrative.
He said: ‘Mr Packham’s comments provide more evidence of agenda-driven hostility towards grouse moor management, with little knowledge of what is actually happening on the ground.
‘He also erroneously conflates moorland at Glen Coe with moorland managed for shooting.’
Scottish Countryside Alliance chief Jake Swindells said: ‘Nearly all species of raptor are at historic population highs. The Countryside Alliance and partners have zero tolerance of persecution.
‘Chris Packham holds deeply prejudiced views about shooting and the rural community.’
The Moorland Association said it condemns ‘any form of wildlife crime’ and supports prosecution of anyone found to be involved.
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