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The naturalist learned he would be appointed a CBE in the New Year’s Honors thanks to his services to nature conservation. He was given his CBE medal by the Prince of Wales.
A CBE – or Commander of the Order of the British Empire – recognizes people who’ve created a positive impact. It is the highest ranking Order of the British Empire award.
When Packham learned he would be receiving the honor, he described as a ‘silent thanks’ from animals. “Maybe the silent have spoken, maybe a terrified fox, a wounded harrier or a trapped badger whispered and this is their thanks,” he said.
He also pledged to speak to the Royal Family about its connections to blood sports, telling the Radio Times: “You don’t get many opportunities in life, and sometimes people are a little bit shy, but if I meet someone of influence I will use that opportunity.
“Nobody ever gets off the hook around me. I don’t care if it’s a bit clumsy, I don’t care if it can be deemed inappropriate. It’s important to say something.”
Packham has recently received threats and had dead birds hung from his fence after successfully campaigning to have general licenses for killing so-called ‘pest birds’ revoked – angering much of the bloodsports and farming community.
He addressed the controversy after the ceremony, saying: “A lot of people aren’t as well versed with the problems, they read the headlines, they knee jerk, they feel that they’re threatened and therefore they lash out.
“I have to accept that and I will accept that and continue to try to make progress. For me all of those things are part of a process I will have to go through to achieve what I want to do – and that is to make the UK countryside a better and healthier place for wildlife and for people, too.
“I know that’s not going to be an easy ride but that doesn’t put me off.”