Your questions for Chris Packham

We asked you to send us your questions for the Springwatch presenter and naturalist. Here, Chris shares his deepest thoughts on everything from poodles to panda-eating.

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Opening spread of Your questions for Chris Packham

We asked you to send us your questions for the Springwatch presenter and naturalist. Here, Chris shares his deepest thoughts on everything from poodles to panda-eating. 

 
In early March, with an icy wind blowing and the first sing-song notes of the chiffchaff still a couple of weeks away, I began wondering whether it had been a good idea to stage a photo shoot in a chilly wood with one of the nation’s favourite wildlife TV presenters. Then Richard, BBC Wildlife’s art editor, asked Chris to climb a tree. It was all going horribly wrong…
 
Your questions came to the rescue. Chris, who has been writing for BBC Wildlife since 1988 (long before Springwatch was dreamed up), was soon talking nineteen to the dozen as he got to grips with your posers. Edgy, well-informed and passionate as ever, he had some fascinating things to say. 
Ben Hoare
 
What sight, sound or smell do you most look forward to when spring approaches?
Heidi Lett, Worcestershire
The bitter scent of crushed bluebells. When you lie among them and sniff the bruised leaves… it’s not exactly a nice smell, but it reminds me of a spring in my childhood, sprawled amid the blue haze to watch a family of foxes outside their den. Today, some would say it’s wrong to sacrifice even a few of these precious blooms, but I was just a kid, enjoying nature.
 
What species, if any, do you think should be reintroduced to Britain?
Max Beech, via email
Beaver. Properly and NOW! It’s a disgrace that this rodent is not yet fully at large in the UK. It shows how we have not really got conservation into top gear at the moment.
 
Would you have liked a career in science?
Liz Turner, via email
For a long time I very much regretted giving up academia (I started researching badgers for a PhD but never finished my study), even though I knew it wouldn’t have suited my impatient and restless ways. I’d like to have studied wasps and hornets.
 
Do you ever go twitching?
@Ollista, via Twitter
No! I like to enjoy my birding, not have my ’scope kicked over by idiots.
 
I saw your face light up on Springwatch when someone showed you a capercaillie tail feather. Do you collect feathers?
Mark Turner, via email
Yes, I collect nearly everything: even poo! My best-ever feathery find was a tail plume from a resplendent quetzal, a Central American megastar. It was for sale at a roadside shack. I didn’t buy it: I couldn’t be sure that it hadn’t been plucked from a bird killed for its feathers. But I still dream of that plume.
 
Is there a British wildlife hotspot that you’ve not been to but would love to visit?
Jennifer Gray, Dewsbury, Yorkshire
Maybe the Monarch Isles, just off North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Or Handa Island, which lies off the west coast of Sutherland. On a fine summer’s day, though.
 
What was your best wildlife encounter?
Jan Barker, via email
Recently, a male hen harrier flew right past me and I nearly burst. That may have been my ‘once in a lifetime’ encounter with this species. Stunning, fleeting, rare, private: it had all the ingredients for a magical moment.
 
If you could bring back just one extinct creature, what would you choose?
@TinaThudBump, via Twitter
No brainer. T rex. The world’s most famous and fantastic animal… and we missed it. Just imagine what it’d be like to meet one. I do!
 
What do you think about the idea of cloning and rewilding mammoths?
Paul Bloomfield, BBC Wildlife
Bring it on! Sadly, I don’t think I’ll live long enough to see it happen. But I’m always up for the appliance of science – otherwise what’s the point?
 
How do we get people to become planet caretakers, not consumers?
@Shyman33, via Twitter
We are consumers. We eat and need energy to live. We need to see ourselves as organisms, not above nature and its laws. If we don’t, we will be taught a salutary lesson.
 
Why poodles? What is it about the breed that you like so much?
@Christina_HH, via Twitter
Are there any other breeds of dog? Poods are simply the smartest canines around.
 
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