Bring wolves back, Packham says
Published 19/05/2015 | 00:06
TV presenter Chris Packham has called for wolves to be reintroduced back into the British countryside.
The Springwatch host, 54, said that humans had to learn to live with the predators and that there had only been a few deaths in the US, where they live.
He told Radio Times magazine that it would be no bad thing if wolves attacked some of Scotland's roe deer population.
Beavers have recently been reintroduced back to British waters after hundreds of years and Packham said that while lynx had been brought back to Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, France and Spain, "there have been no authenticated accounts of them attacking people".
"Given that we have 350,000 roe deer in Scotland, reintroducing a predator to have an impact on that population would be good," he added.
"Wolves live in Portugal, Spain, Italy and in Sweden too. There have been only two fatalities since the year 2000, both in the US, and certainly none in Europe.
"What we would like to move towards is a more tolerant society that understands the fact that to have a sustainable working landscape we need large predators.
"We have lived without them in the UK for such a long time that people are very resistant to the idea of them coming back, which is a shame because we do know better and we do need them, and it would be tremendously exciting."
He added: "Think of the eagles that we have put back into Scotland.
"The eco-touristic value of those birds runs into millions of pounds per bird. That's how much they are worth to the local economy.
"If we did have wolves - which would have to be in Scotland - and lynx then lots of people would pay to go to see them and they would be a great asset."
Fellow Springwatch star Michaela Strachan, meanwhile, called for more work to be done to save the hedgehog.
"We all know that the number of tigers, rhinos and elephants are in decline, but there's an animal on our doorstep that needs our attention just as urgently," she said.
"Hedgehogs are declining at the same rate as tigers. They're in critical danger, particularly in London. If we don't do anything about them they'll be gone in 10 years."
She said that pesticides, predation and loss of habitat were all contributing to declining population numbers.
"But there's something very straightforward we can do to help them - create a hole beneath the garden fence to help them roam," Strachan said.
"A hedgehog forages over an area the size of two football pitches so it needs a big space .
"We are all so familiar with hedgehogs that it's easy to forget we need to conserve them. Familiar animals can be the ones in real danger."