Packham could face 'up to six months in prison' if charged with disturbing protected goshawk chicks
Footage of Chris Packham sniffing a goshawk chick whilst filming for the BBC is at the centre of a police probe amid claims the presenter's actions were a 'disturbance' to the protected species.
The incident has provoked fury amongst some conservationists and bird watchers. The footage was filmed in the New Forest over the course of a morning for the BBC's The One Show, but one expert on birds of prey has said there's 'absolutely no excuse' for what took place.
Jemima Parry-Jones told the Telegraph the filming should be done as quickly as possible and in a way to minimise harm, adding: 'When the face of a human, effectively their only natural predator, appears over the edge of a nest it will cause them huge distress.'
Goshawks are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which enshrines the safety of protected species, their nest and eggs in law.
As well as making the deliberate killing of protected wild bird a crime, it also makes it illegal to 'intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird'.
The police probe will come as a great embarrassment for the BBC presenter and will only reinforce the view by many in the countryside that Mr Packham is an arrogant, agenda driven campaigner, more interested in self-publicity than the wellbeing of protected species.
The crime carries a penalty of an unlimited fine, up to six months imprisonment or both.
What consequence Mr Packham will face remains to be seen but the presenter has received widespread criticism for actions across social media and in the comments section.