Chris Packham’s decision to ‘sniff’ goshawk chick on BBC reviewed by police

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Chris Packham’s decision to sniff a goshawk chick on The One Show is being investigated by police over whether a wildlife crime has been committed.

The 62-year-old presenter wanted to tell BBC viewers about how the bird species is thriving after being on the brink of extinction.

Within the clip, which is just under five minutes long, Mr Packham took part in biometric tests in the New Forest.

He sniffed one of the three chicks to detect their “characteristic scent or perfume” after they were weighed, sexed and ringed in line with a licence issued by the British Trust for Ornithology.

The clip aired in June and prompted a complaint to police that a filming licence may not have been obtained.

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It was suggested the filming amounted to a “disturbance” of a protected species.

The Springwatch presenter insisted to The Telegraph no laws were broken and said people concerned about the species should be more worried about “widespread persecution” by gamekeepers who have illegally killed goshawks.

The complainant, who wants to remain anonymous, told the newspaper: “I watched the programme and was struck by the way Mr Packham was handling and sniffing the birds.

“These birds are Schedule 1 protected and it is a crime to intentionally or recklessly disturb at, on or near an active nest.”

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After contacting Natural England regarding permission to film, the trust allegedly told him: “I have checked our various systems and contacted potentially relevant groups within Natural England and have not been able to locate any relevant licences.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said they received a report relating to an alleged offence on July 2 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

They said it is currently being reviewed by the force’s Coutrywatch team.

Mr Packham told The Telegraph: “Raptor persecution is illegal yet every year a huge number of goshawks are killed by gamekeepers… Not by scientists or people in the media. All three of these birds fledged the nest – let’s hope they survive.”

A BBC spokesman said The One Show “had permission to film and followed all protocols” while filming the chicks. has contacted the BBC and a representative for Mr Packham for further comment.

The One Show airs on weekdays at 5pm on BBC One.

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