Someone left Chris Packham a gruesome message but it massively backfired

Two dead crows strung up by their necks
Glen Black

CORRECTION: This piece was updated on 26 April at 18:40. It originally stated Megan McCubbin was Packham’s partner and has now been corrected to say that she is his step-daughter.

Someone left a gruesome message for conservationist Chris Packham to wake up to on 25 April. And it came after he helped win a major legal battle against the shooting industry.

Dead and strung up

Natural England (NE) introduced new rules around shooting many of England’s wild birds on 25 April. It suspended general licences, which permitted the free shooting of 16 bird species including woodpigeons and crows. NE made the change as a result of a legal challenge by wildlife campaign group Wild Justice. And the move angered many in the pro-shooting community.

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Wild Justice comprises three notable wildlife conservationists: Mark Avery, Ruth Tingay, and Packham. So when Packham woke up on 25 April to find two dead crows on his gate, strung up by their necks, it was more than coincidence:

Zoologist Megan McCubbin, Packham’s step-daughter, posted a video of the scene on Twitter. But she said the attempt to intimidate “won’t phase us”:

Love, support and solidarity

Whatever message the anonymous culprit(s) were trying to send, however, became lost in the tide of support Packham and McCubbin received. At the time of writing, the pair’s photo and video of the scene have been retweeted more than 13,000 times. More than 7,000 people also commented on Packham’s photo.

Many high-profile wildlife advocates on Twitter showed their support:

Other celebrities not directly connected to ecological campaigns also condemned the act:

Meanwhile, plenty of people also pointed out the probability that this was sent as a message by someone from the shooting community:

However, some took it as a chance to have a dig at Packham:

Disconnected

Leaving dead animals strung up seems to be a method used to ‘send a message’ by some hunters, shooters and other blood enthusiasts. On 15 January, for example, North Wales Hunt Sabs shared a photo of a dead fox strung up on a road sign. And in February 2017, the Mirror reported that dead ducks were strung up around the Gloucestershire village of Upton St Leonards.

This message is unlikely to intimidate Packham. And the culprit’s threat was lost amidst a huge wave of love and support for the naturalist. But this act is a reminder of just how utterly disconnected some within the shooting and hunting community are from reality.

Featured image via Megan McCubbin/Twitter

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