Chris Packham appointed CBE
Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham has been awarded a CBE in the New Year's honours list for his services to wildlife and conservation.
Packham, who presented The Really Wild Show for a decade until 1995 and has subsequently been the face of numerous wildlife TV shows and documentaries including the BBC's Springwatch, has become an increasingly loud and important voice in the fight against fox hunting, raptor persecution and the badger cull, among many other contemporary conservation issues.
He has spent time in Malta in recent years, highlighting and fighting the illegal slaughter of migratory birds, which happens there each spring and autumn. In spring 2017, this culminated in him being arrested for assault, a charge of which he was subsequently cleared in court. In 2014, he was named Conservation Hero of the Year in the inaugural Birdwatch Birders' Choice Awards.
In 2018, he organised the People's Walk for Wildlife and the People's Manifesto for Wildlife. The former attracted 10,000 people to walk through the streets of London to highlight the ongoing decline of Britain's biodiversity, despite awful weather conditions on the day, and claimed the Campaign of the Year award in the 2018 Birders' Choice Awards (see the January 2019 issue of Birdwatch for this and all further winners). This followed his 'BioBlitz' – 10 days of intensive wildlife surveys around the UK, intended to highlight the declines of so much of our wildlife and encourage people to get involved and keep an eye on the nature around them.
Packham commented on his appointment: "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."