Chris Packham says he would happily have gone to jail for the cause that saw him tried in a Gozo court last month, charged with assault and trespass on the island near Malta.
The ‘Springwatch’ presenter was arrested following a confrontation with men he believed had illegally trapped wild birds, and now he tells HuffPostUK that, however unlikely a jail sentence was for the charge for which he was tried, he would have been happy to accept the consequences.
“If it had been the case (going to jail), it would have been an injustice, and I’m interested in justice, so yes. That’s part and parcel of it. There are any number of campaigners who have been thrown in jail for standing up for what is right.
“There was little chance of that happening in Malta, there was more chance of me being run over or shot, although things have improved in Malta in recent years.”
Now he’s back in England preparing for the forthcoming season of ‘Springwatch’, Chris admits he was actually delighted by the opportunity “entirely positively to throw light on the issue itself”.
He nods to the “conservation agencies who work all year round in that environment face, and they’re struggling and what we brought to public awareness is what they face once or twice a week during hunting season.
“It just shows what a difficult environment it is, so from our perspective, it was mission accomplished. I’m further empowered and energised by that whole thing. That fuels my determination. We’re spurred on. We won’t go on campaigning against things that are illegal until we perish or we get what we want.”
Chris returns to ‘Springwatch’ alongside fellow presenters Michaela Strachan, Martin Hughes-Games and newbie Gillian Burke, when the series moves to a brand new location, the National Trust estate of Sherborne in the Cotswolds.
Chris is extremely enthusiastic about the move, calling it a “dose of reality” for those wanting to improve and preserve the national landscape.
“We partition our expectations, so if we want to see art, we go to a gallery,” he said yesterday at the programme launch. “If we want to see history, we go to a museum, we’ve got ourselves into a state of mind where if we want to see wildlife, we go to a nature reserve. That depresses me, we should have an expectation of seeing wildlife throughout the country.
‘Springwatch’ will return on Monday 29 May, and will run to Thursday 15 June on BBC Two.