Chris Packham reported to police for sniffing wild goshawk chicks live on TV

29 August 2023, 08:53

Chris Packham has been reported to the police
Chris Packham has been reported to the police. Picture: social media/BBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

TV presenter and environmental activist Chris Packham has been reported to police for sniffing a goshawk chick live on BBC's The One Show.

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Packham was celebrating the return of goshawks, a protected species, to breed, while filming The One Show.

The environmental activist was pictured posing with three goshawks, having promoted the show on Instagram writing: "Tonight on The One Show I get up close and very personal with some New Forest Goshawks!"

Packham was then seen on TV sniffing a chick in order to experience its “characteristic scent or perfume” after the birds had been involved in a series of scientific tests.

The act has seen the TV presenter reported to the police, who will look at whether the BBC had a license to disturb the rare animals.

Chris Packham with three goshawks
Chris Packham with three goshawks. Picture: social media

The man who complained to the police told The Telegraph: "I watched the programme and was struck by the way Mr Packham was handling and sniffing the birds.

"These birds are Schedule 1 protected and it is a crime to ‘intentionally or recklessly disturb at, on or near an active nest’."

But Mr Packham has insisted he has done nothing wrong.

“Raptor persecution is illegal yet every year a huge number of goshawks are killed by gamekeepers … not by scientists or people in the media," he said.

"All three of these birds fledged the nest – let’s hope they survive.”

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Removing goshawks from their nests for scientific research is allowed.

The BBC believes Packham was helping with the activities of measuring, weighing and ringing, while acting under trained supervision, The Times reports.

A spokesperson for Hampshire police said: "We received a report on July 2 relating to an alleged offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is currently being reviewed by our Countrywatch team."

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “The One Show had permission to film and followed all protocols around filming wildlife.”