TV & Movies

Chris Packham rages that Royal Family need to 'grow up' for supporting trophy hunting in new nature doc

CHRIS Packham has raged that the Royal Family need to 'grow up' for supporting trophy hunting in a new nature documentary.

The 59-year-old presenter- who will be back on our screens hosting Winterwatch this week – is an avid animal rights campaigner.

Chris is reigniting his campaign to ban the importing of hunting trophies in the UK, and has called on the Royals to get behind it.

This is despite the fact that in 2016, Prince William admitted he was in favour of trophy hunting under the right circumstances, explaining: "there is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is around the world”.

When asked about the Royal Family and their position on the matter, Chris said: "We’ve all changed our behaviours during our lifetimes, it’s about growing up.

"We change our minds as things change around us. I think we have to see the Royal Family going through a similar process. When they do things such as helping to remove the stigma of mental health, or helping disabled veterans, that’s been phenomenal."

He continued: “When it comes to the environment, they, like the rest of us, are in a learning process, and we have to encourage them to do that, celebrate the things they get right, and point out the things they get wrong, so they can continue to make progress. They can be valuable ambassadors.

“We have to encourage them to continue on that journey. What I would say to the Royal Family – keep learning, keep taking advice, keep updating your ideas, keep modernising and every message you send out will continue to make a difference. That can only be a good thing.”

In the UK, only badger culling is permitted under licence, within set areas and timescales, in the hope of controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

However, there is a debate about how much badgers actually contribute to the spread of the disease to cattle and other wildlife, and a number of animal associations – including The Wildlife Trust – are calling for the Government to end the cull.

Meanwhile, there have been calls for localised deer culling to be brought in after numbers grew to two million, risking increased damage to crops, woodland and bird numbers in areas where they are prevalent, however, nothing has been introduced by law to date.

Chris made the comments ahead of his next project, narrating Cecil: The Lion King, which kicks off Nat Geo’s Big Cat Week next month.

Cecil was a 13-year-old lion who was killed an American big game hunter in Zimbabwe in 2015 while he was the subject of an Oxford University research programme.

Chris said: "Like many other people I was angry about what happened to Cecil.

“I was astonished that an animal that was part of a scientific study was killed in this way. For many people it was extremely shocking.”

Cecil: The Lion King is part of Nat Geo Wild’s Big Cat Week which begins on February 1. Winterwatch begins on BBC One at 8pm on Tuesday, January 19.

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