Smallpox and malaria are there to regulate our population, says Chris Packham

Smallpox, measles, mumps and malaria "are there to regulate our population" and new ways to control it need to be found, according to Chris Packham.

Speaking to the Radio Times magazine, the TV presenter said that rising global population leads to a "vicious cycle" of an increase in consumption and climate change and a loss of wildlife.

He added that while he does not want to undo medical advances, people need to face up to their consequences.

Packham said: "I ask, very candidly, what do you think smallpox, measles, mumps and malaria are for?

"Every organism has a role to play.

"Quite frankly, they are there to regulate our population."

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File photo dated 22/09/18 of TV wildlife expert Chris Packham who said he has been sent death threats after backing a legal challenge which resulted in restrictions on shooting "pest" birds.
Chris Packham makes a speech on top of a bus stop during the Extinction Rebellion demonstration on Waterloo Bridge in London.
Chris Packham makes a speech on top of a bus stop during the Extinction Rebellion demonstration on Waterloo Bridge in London.
EMBARGOED TO 2230 FRIDAY DECEMBER 28 File photo dated 24/05/18 of TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham who has been awarded a CBE for services to Nature Conservation in the New Year Honours list.
Chris Packham takes part in the People's Walk for Wildlife, as it sets off from Hyde Park in central London.
Chris Packham (left) and Billy Bragg onstage before the start of the People's Walk for Wildlife, in Hyde Park in central London.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Chris Packham interacts with a 7ft lifelike model of a Stag Beetle at the launch of Big Bugs on Tour at intu Lakeside, which is a year-long initiative designed to reconnect people with nature.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Chris Packham interacts with a lifelike model of a Hornet and a Grasshopper at the launch of Big Bugs on Tour at intu Lakeside, which is a year-long initiative designed to reconnect people with nature.
TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham (left) and Butterfly Conservation's Head of England Regions Dan Hoare after releasing chequered skipper butterflies in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire, which are being reintroduced to England, as part of the Back from the Brink project, after the species disappeared in 1976.
Wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham and organizer of the protest addresses the crowd during the first day of the grouse season known as the "Glorious 12th". Hundreds of Anti Blood Sports protesters gather outside Downing Street in London, UK on August 12, 2017 to demonstrate against the killing of animals for sport. (Photo by Claire Doherty) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***
Chris Packham attending the Royal Television Society Programme Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.
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He added: "I don't want children to suffer – to die of malaria if there is a cure.

"But there's no reason why we shouldn't analyse this from a biological perspective.

"The only reason we don't is a prejudice and a fear of even talking about it."

Chris Packham protesting with Extinction Rebellion
The TV presenter has previously joined the Extinction Rebellion environment protests in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

The discussion around limiting the global population is "dogged by eugenics", he said, because "raising the subject means making choices about which humans should be allowed to live".

He added: "Unfortunately, when it comes to addressing these issues, very often the finger is pointed at sub-Saharan Africa because that's where the human population is growing most rapidly.

"You can't point the finger at large families of poor black children as being the problem.

"At this point we are the problem.

"We are the principle consumers and the onus is on us to cut back to balance their increase, and they are quite rightly able to aspire to that increase."

Radio Times cover
Packham spoke to the Radio Times about his new documentary (Radio Times/PA)

Packham, who has previously joined the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, was speaking ahead of the airing of his new BBC programme 7.7 Billion People And Counting.

The show looks at the impact of a growing population and asks "whether the Earth can sustain predictions of 10 billion people by 2050", according to the BBC.

7.7 Billion People And Counting airs at 9pm on January 21 on BBC Two.

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