Express & Star

Packham celebrates CBE and vows to keep fighting for British countryside

The Springwatch presenter has been rewarded for services to nature conservation.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace

Chris Packham vowed to continue his fight to defend Britain’s natural world – despite receiving death threats – as he was made a CBE by the Prince of Wales.

The naturalist and TV presenter, who has spoken out against fox hunting, badger culling and the killing of birds of prey, has been given the award for his services to nature conservation.

Packham last month revealed dead crows had been strung up outside his home and he had received death threats after Natural England revoked licences for controlling 16 species of bird following a legal challenge by the Wild Justice group he founded.

On Monday, his appearance at a festival for dog lovers was cancelled as the organisers of Dogstival, at Pylewell Park Estate, near Lymington in the New Forest, Hampshire, said they feared protesters would use the event to target the BBC Springwatch presenter.

Packham, 58, said after the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony: “A lot of people aren’t as well versed with the problems, they read the headlines, they knee jerk, they feel that they’re threatened and therefore they lash out.

ROYAL Investitures
Packham receives his medal from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“I have to accept that and I will accept that and continue to try to make progress.

“For me all of those things are part of a process I will have to go through to achieve what I want to do – and that is to make the UK countryside a better and healthier place for wildlife and for people, too.

“I know that’s not going to be an easy ride but that doesn’t put me off.”

The passionate defender of wildlife has worked on BBC Two’s Springwatch and its other seasonal spin-offs since 2009, and presented numerous natural history programmes.

Earlier this year he took part in Blue Planet Live, examining the impact of ocean pollution.

Packham has spoken often of how his Asperger’s syndrome and bouts of depression have affected his screen career.

He added: “One of the characteristics of my condition is that we are intolerant of injustice and we see things in black and white and we say what we think, and those are key assets when it comes to the sort of campaigning work that I do.”

The TV presenter was interested in the natural world from an early age, with a bedroom full of tanks and jars of wildlife, before becoming involved in the punk scene and adopting its defiant spirit.

He began experimenting with photography and camera work before moving from behind the camera to presenting duties on The Really Wild Show in 1986.

Packham is vice-president of the RSPB and the RSPCA, and supports other conservation and animal welfare charities.

The TV presenter said he would be celebrating the award at London Zoo with a group of people, from his former school teachers to television executives, who had mentored him over the years.

He said about the CBE: “To a great extent I feel I’m taking one for a team of people, there aren’t that many people who are honoured for working in major conservation and environmental care and there are a lot of people who work hard, and a lot harder than I do, and I’m fortunate to be a small figurehead for them.”

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