Chris Packham thanks thousands petitioning to stop his dismissal from the BBC

The wildlife presenter has come under fire for 'obsessive crusades' against killing animals

Chris Packham has thanked the nearly 75,000 people who have signed a petition for him to remain at the BBC after the Countryside Alliance called on him to be fired from the corporation.

“I was extraordinarily touched by some of the tweets that came in, particularly those that were from people that said, ‘Actually, I don’t like you that much, but I respect what you’re trying to do’. They were particularly poignant.”

He has now encouraged his supporters to join the RSPB, Birders Against Wildlife Crime, and the League Against Cruel Sports. See his video below:

Packham recently spoke out about wildlife NGOs, saying they are “too meek” and that they have “split interests” due to their interest in “country pursuits – shooting, hunting, fishing, farming… We need to move on.”

He wrote in his column in the BBC’s Wildlife magazine about the issue, saying conservation groups were “hamstrung by outdated liaisons with the ‘nasty brigade’ and can’t risk upsetting old friends.”

He has since told the Guardian, “Conservationists might sometimes – and ought to – disagree with people who go around killing things.”

After writing the column, the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner, said: “This is the clearest possible abuse of the position the BBC has given Chris Packham, and as it is an ongoing behaviour, rather than an isolated incident. It is difficult to see how the situation can change.”

He criticised Packham for his “obsessive crusades” and said that his column in the magazine was “blatant political propaganda” and that Packham was pursuing an “increasingly extreme agenda”.

Since the call for his dismissal, a petition for the BBC to keep Packham on has amassed over 74,000 signatures, stating that he has not broken the terms of his contract, which stipulates impartiality on part of the BBC.