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Ben Fogle slams woke cancel culture fuming our voices have been taken away

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TV presenter Ben Fogle has hit out at woke cancel culture – saying “freedom of speech is being eroded.”

And the writer and adventurer admits he often keeps his opinions to himself for fear of repercussions.

Just last month fellow environmentalist Chris Packham endured a firebomb attack on his car and gates which he believes is a result of his outspoken anti-hunting views.

Ben says: “Freedom of speech is being eroded. Our voices have been taken away from us.

“There’s a lot of anger and if you don’t say what people want you to say you can be cancelled.

“I hope we can go back to fair and balanced debate.”

Ben found fame on island reality show Castaway back in 2000 and has since gone on to present shows including Countryfile and Channel 5’s New Lives in the Wild.

He’s also made documentaries, penned 10 books and even climbed Mount Everest in 2018.

So as someone in the public eye, he is well aware of the dangers of social media – and how a misstep can land you in hot water.

“I have a love/hate relationship with social media,” says Ben. “It can be nasty and divisive so I try to remain on the fence.

“I could say one misjudged thought and it could unravel years of hard work.

“We have to make mistakes – if you haven’t, you’re a robot.”

Daily walks gave us all a much-needed boost of fresh air and reinvigoration during the Covid lockdowns.

And Ben reckons people need to try and make an effort to ditch screen time in favour of outdoor pursuits.

He says: “More people need to get back to nature and engage with the slower pace of life.

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious when you look at nature but for me, walks, building hedgehog holes…it’s all perfect the way to bring families together and disconnect from the online world.

“Get a local map and look at the areas around you – get lost but make sure you’re well equipped to explore.”

Ben is helping raise awareness of the declining population of red squirrels in mainland UK and along with Visit Jersey has launched the first Little Red Squirrel Count.

Despite a 92% decline over the last few decades, Jersey has one of the most thriving populations of the creatures.

Ben says: “I’ve always been passionate about wildlife but now as a father I look at it with a different eye.

“Reds were the original dominant squirrel but greys pushed them out.

“Jersey have between 5,000 to 6,000 of them but I’ve only seen two in my life – with one being on Jersey.

“It’s so important we have biodiversity across the British isles.”

The next series of New Lives in the Wild – which sees Ben follow people living in the wild and isolated from society – is already in the can.

And Ben adds: “While I was able to film a lot while sticking to Covid regulations during lockdown, I’ve just got back from Norway and Greece where it was nice to be spending time back out of the UK.”

Visit Jersey are encouraging those on or visiting the island to get involved in the #LittleRedSquirrelCount. Submit spottings at jerseybiodiversitycentre.org.je and log on to jersey.com/squirrel for more info.

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