Dead crows hung outside Chris Packham’s house following bird shooting curb
Dead crows have been left hanging outside the home of Chris Packham after he backed a legal challenge which resulted in restrictions on shooting 'pest' birds.
The BBC Springwatch presenter said on Thursday that he had contacted police following the incident.
Mr Packham was part of an action which resulted in Natural England revoking three general licences which allowed the shooting of 16 species of bird, including crows, magpies, Canada geese and feral and wood pigeons.
The legal challenge was brought by Wild Justice, which includes wildlife campaigners Dr Mark Avery and Dr Ruth Tingay, as well as Mr Packham.
The move provoked a backlash from farmers groups and others.
A Change.org petition calling on the BBC to "sack Chris Packham" had received more than 70,000 signatures by Thursday afternoon.
Mr Packham tweeted a picture of the crows, adding: "This was my gate this morning (it was vandalised) @HantsPolice & lawyers have been informed .
"So @BASCnews @NFUtweets @CAupdates @FarmersWeekly @Gameandwildlife @NaturalEngland can I ask you to comment on whether you condone this . Serious request – replies expected ."
This was my gate this morning (it was vandalised) @HantsPolice & lawyers have been informed . So @BASCnews@NFUtweets@CAupdates@FarmersWeekly@Gameandwildlife@NaturalEngland can I ask you to comment on whether you condone this . Serious request - replies expected . Please RT pic.twitter.com/8sVDyn4bSW— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) April 25, 2019
The BASC (British Association for Shooting and Conservation) responded: "We absolutely condemn such behaviour @ChrisPackham.
"We are clear – there is no place for illegality in the countryside.
"Will you also condemn the illegal behaviour of those who target legitimate rural businesses, such as those who release pheasants from game farms?"
Natural England also tweeted: "Hello @ChrisGPackham
– of course we don't condone this type of behaviour, it's never justified no matter how strongly people feel about an issue."
Announcing the decision to revoke the general shooting licences, Natural England said it would look to bring in "alternative measures" over the coming weeks to allow the lawful shooting of the bird species to continue.
It said that, until then, those wanting to kill the birds where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will have to apply for an individual licence.
In a statement, the government body said: "The change follows a legal challenge to the way the licences have been issued, which could mean users who rely on them are not acting lawfully.
"Natural England is working at pace to put in place over the next few weeks alternative measures to allow lawful control of these bird species to continue where necessary.
"In the meantime, once the licences have been revoked and until new licences are issued, anyone needing to control one of these 16 bird species where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will need to apply for an individual licence."
The ban has been criticised by members of the British Game Alliance and many farmers, who say that pigeons need to be controlled in order to protect crops.
Tom Adams, the managing director of the British Game Alliance, said: "The pigeon sector is relied on by game processing businesses to keep them going through the 'closed season' of the spring and summer when no game birds like grouse and pheasant can be shot.
"Hundreds of jobs are at severe risk if a solution isn't found."
But Wild Justice, which was launched in February, said: "What sort of world is it where the statutory body with responsibility for wildlife protection is operating a bird-killing licensing scheme that is unlawful?
"Millions of birds are killed each year under the terms of the General Licences and many of these deaths will not be justified.
"We are grateful to over 1,100 individuals who funded this legal challenge and allowed us to take it with the means to progress it through the courts."
On its website, Wild Justice explained how the legal challenge was based around the idea that Natural England could not be satisfied that the conditions needed for the 16 bird species to be legally killed had been met.