I’ll keep this brief.
In late 2020, a complaint was made to the Fundraising Regulator accusing Chris Packham and his partner Charlotte Corney, acting as trustees of the charity The Wildheart Trust, of alleged breaches of the Code of Fundraising Practice. The complaint related to a fundraising effort by The Wildheart Trust in April 2020 to rescue a number of ex-circus tigers and lions from the continent and re-home them at the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary on the Isle of Wight.
In May 2021, after a thorough investigation, the Fundraising Regulator fully exonerated Chris, Charlotte and The Wildheart Trust of any wrong doing. You can download the 18-page decision here:
The Wildheart Trust issued a statement in response:
‘Following an investigation into one of our recent campaigns, we are delighted that the Fundraising Regulator has fully exonerated The Wildheart Trust of any wrongdoing surrounding our fundraising efforts. We were more than happy to work with the Regulator to comprehensively vindicate the work we continue to do in protecting vulnerable and endangered species around the world.
We were always confident that the Regulator would find in favour of The Wildheart Trust. These were baseless and malicious claims driven by a group of individuals with a clear agenda to attack Chris Packham and individuals and organisations associated with him.
The fact that these people could claim that our beloved tigers were not rescued when there was irrefutable evidence of the harm and injury that they had suffered, gives us some insight into these people’s contempt for our most precious wildlife.
The announcement by the regulator vindicates us completely but, more importantly, it gives us the courage and inspiration to continue our campaigns to protect our planet and the animals we are lucky enough to share it with‘.
[Chris & Charlotte in 2019 on the day Chris was awarded a CBE for services to conservation. Photo by Ruth Tingay]
Following this full exoneration in May 2021, the complainant refused to accept the Fundraising Regulator’s decision and in June 2021 asked for an external review.
The Fundraising Regulator obliged and an external review of the original decision was undertaken.
On 8th December 2021 the Fundraising Regulator published the findings of its external review and, once again, Chris, Charlotte and The Wildheart Trust were fully exonerated. See here and here for details.
Chris is currently suing a number of individuals for alleged defamation in relation to this case and the first court hearing is scheduled for February 2022.
If you’d like to find out more about the conservation work of The Wildheart Trust and support their efforts, please visit their website here.
UPDATE 10th March 2022: High Court rules allegations about Chris Packham are defamatory, trial to commence (here)