The nature presenter, who hosts Springwatch, said he is “unapologetic” about his views, stating: “Look, much of Glencoe was covered by trees, making it a far richer environment and habitat for wildlife and native species of wildflower. Now much of it just looks barren. I make no apologies for saying that and how it could do with a degree of re-wilding.
Packham said in a new interview with The Herald that Scotland currently “doesn’t look how it should”, stating: “Large parts have been trashed by the Country set. I love Scotland. It’s the wildlife capital of the UK with so many, beautiful, sexy species. We keep coming back here. But we’re killing eagles; burning moorlands and damaging that rich environment.
He continued: “Those grouse moors are not serving Scotland well. They do massive reputational damage. We come to Scotland because it’s the best in the UK for wildlife. Glencoe could be the Yellowstone of the UK: it’s got the natural structure and the bleak history. It’s remote and there are not too many buildings. But its current contrived landscape is not for wildlife.”
Packham said that “the Scottish Government must allow a bit more trust in conservation and in restoring our eco-systems”, expressing the belief that “re-wilding some areas will generate lots more money that country sports with the potential for many more jobs”.
The TV personality, who has found himself increasingly under fire from countryside outlets for his staunch views about the state of village such as Glencoe, also criticised nature organisations including Countryside Alliance, the Moorland Association and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association for turning a blind eye to the “unbelievable” amount of bird-killing that goes on in the region.
“They all deny that this is a serious issue, but it’s wilful blindness on their part,” he said.
In response to Packham’s comments, Ross Ewing, director of Moorland at Scottish Land & Estates, told MailOnline: “Mr Packham’s comments provide more evidence of agenda-driven hostility towards grouse moor management, with little knowledge of what is actually happening on the ground.
The Moorland Association also said it condemns “any form of wildlife crime” and supports prosecution of anyone found to be involved.
Meanwhile, Scottish Countryside Alliance chief Jake Swindells told the outlet: “Chris Packham holds deeply prejudiced views about shooting and the rural community.”