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BBC's Chris Packham distorts true picture about hen harriers in latest article in The Sun

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

[Chris Packham's article in The Sun, which also misidentifies the bird in question]

Chris Packham is branching out beyond his traditional BBC Springwatch audience and is now attempting to preach his message to the readers of the Britain’s most popular newspaper, The Sun.

Although the audiences might be different, Packham’s effort to distort the truth with a selection of cherry picked statistics to fulfil his malign agenda against moorland communities remains.

Writing in today’s Sun, Packham claims that: ‘Hen Harriers are down 39% in 12 years.’

He goes on to write, ‘there is strong evidence that hen harriers are being poisoned, trapped and shot by the grouse-shooting industry.’

The reality in fact is anything but – as Packham knows only too well. Yes, there have been incidents of historic persecution against hen harriers, however their plight has transformed almost unrecognisably in recent years.

In fact, rather than risk extinction, hen harriers have enjoyed an 800% increase in the numbers of chicks fledged in the last four years. However Packham conveniently chose to ignore these clear facts as it would not have suited his ultimate agenda.

What makes Packham's distortion of the truth even more frustrating and disappointing is that it undermines the very real problem of the decline in numbers of other species – including hedgehogs, red squirrels and chaffinches – that Packham mentions.

Anyone with a garden will not be surprised to read about the decline in chaffinch numbers – and indeed it is hard to be shocked by their plummeting numbers when there has been such an enormous increase in bird of prey numbers across the country. Whatever your views on conservation, it is impossible to ignore the fact that there is a strong correlation between the rise of predator species and the collapse in other prey species, which cannot be stopped without management.

Finally, it was also notable that Packham chose to ignore red listed birds such as curlews, on his 'risk list'. I'm sure it was just a forgetful moment, rather than an unwillingness to recognise that the only place curlews are thriving is on our managed grouse moors.


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