Chris Packham visits Buckingham Palace to call on Royal Family to rewild estates

·2-min read

Wildlife expert Chris Packham has joined more than 100 children to personally deliver a petition to Buckingham Palace calling on the Royal Family to rewild their estates.

Campaigners, accompanied by parents, carried the petition from Green Park tube station in central London to the royal residence on Saturday morning.

Led by a jazz band, participants included the choir SOS From The Kids, who featured on Britain's Got Talent in 2019.

The Wild Card campaign petition has been signed by 100,000 people, including academics, experts and public figures, before the royals appear as ambassadors at the COP26 climate summit next month.

Speaking to Sky News outside Buckingham Palace, Mr Packham said: "We are asking the Royal Family to think about how they manage their estate. And it's a very large estate, 800,000 acres.

"That's double the size of Greater London and 1.4% of the UK's land surface.

"So given that we know that we have to plant more trees and encourage more biodiversity so that we have a more sustainable and resilient future, we are calling on them [the Royal Family] to act swiftly and promptly to make those changes on their land."

Mr Packham, who attended the event wearing a leafy hat, added: "Not all of their land is in great ecological condition, like Balmoral, which has been largely given over to deer stalking and grouse shooting and is deluded of trees.

"This is a very powerful family, they have a very powerful voice, and they could do something very powerful for the environment - particularly in the run-up to COP26. It would send a fantastic message if they listened to these people behind me today and act through change."

Mr Packham made a speech outside the palace, while a four-metre-tall sculpture of a white stork held a huge envelope symbolising the petition in its beak.

While the average tree coverage is 37% in the European Union, the Duchy of Cornwall estate owned by the Prince of Wales has only 6% tree coverage, the campaign claims.

If rewilded, the royal estates could reintroduce beavers, wolves, bison, wild boar, pine martens and white storks, ecologists believe.

The campaign demands that 50% of the UK be fully rewilded, but has called on the Royal Family as the UK's biggest landowner to act first.

Royal-owned territories include the Crown Estate and the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall.

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