Fundraising Regulator Bottles on Packham


This week, after months of waiting and false starts, our rural affairs writer Nigel Bean received letters (published a few paragraphs below) back from the Fundraising Regulator in respect to Chris Packham and his charity the Wildheart Trust. As regular readers will know full well, the magazine has covered the difference between ‘rescuing’ and ‘rehoming’ tigers and has exposed their blatant lying in crowdfunders about tigers being maltreated:

Packham even threatened Bean and the Editor with a defamation case which you can read about here.

In summary, what a chocolate teapot the Fundraising Regulator turns out to be! It is risible that their investigator spent months knocking up a whitewash of a summary before mentioning she’s off to work somewhere else. As a former policeman we showed her summary to commented:

“I thought they would be too afraid of upsetting the apple cart. All this cowardice does is empower the likes of Packham”

Here is the Fundraising Regulator’s letter addressed to Nigel Bean:

Here is the summary of their findings:

The following passage particularly stands out:

“76. It is open to Mr Bean to disagree with the charity’s position, based on his own interpretation of the facts and available research. But the charity’s assertions, based on its view of the facts and research, although arguably expressed rather sweepingly with a touch of hyperbole, were not misleading or likely to mislead in relation to the fundraising ask.”


Jesus wept.

Strategic lies are not hyperbole!

Strategic lies on crowdfunders are something else altogether.

Packham even admitted himself the tigers were not rescued. Check out these two videos where in the first video Packham claims the tigers are rescued:

Then Packham publicly backtracks on the ‘rescuing’ claims in a second video:

The tigers were never maltreated by their previous owner and were never ‘physically broken’. Nigel Bean even showed the regulator the vet reports showing they were routinely inspected, as was their environment, around once a month. Each time they were given the all-clear.

There was never any evidence to prove that “while at the mercy of travelling circuses in Spain these defenceless animals were the victims of unimaginable neglect and cruelty living hellish lives confined within squalid beast-wagons or crammed into tiny pens where they were left to fight for scraps of food in between performances”, as Wildheart claimed. That was made-up nonsense. Pure fabrication.

So where does the Packham story stand?

The Editor is not for turning. He has refused to take the Packham exposés down in spite of Packham’s lawyers sending over legal threats. Since the stories were published, more evidence has come to light which reinforces the revelations about these tiger crowdfunds. The Editor shall address magazine readers by video on Tuesday. There’s a lot going on. He’ll update readers on as much as he is permitted to by lawyers and officials.

Just because the Fundraising Regulator is a gutless and under-funded chocolate teapot of an organisation does not mean that Packham or Wildheart can get away with what they have done. Nor shall the BBC get away with turning a blind eye and continuing to contract Packham across multiple programmes. The fact that the Wildheart Trust has now changed its name to the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary in the light of all this bad publicity shows just how much Packham and his charity colleagues are on the defensive. It will take more than a name change to get out of this one.

Let the truth out.

These tigers were DONATIONS and were never maltreated. They were happy animals – victims of anti-circus activists.  

Claims by the Wildheart Trust that the tigers were rescued is a figment of their imagination. Why don’t they come clean and apologise for their dodgy fundraising campaign that duped so many rather than obfuscating and making yet more stuff up to justify their maltreatment and rescue lies?

The Spanish press reported that the circus family contacted a lawyer – “from the circus they contacted me to help them find a good home for their animals”

Raquel López, DeAnimals lawyer, explains that:

“from the circus they contacted me to help them find a good home for their animals, since they did not want them to end up euthanised, in another circus or in a bad place. I know that the circus family had taken very good care of the animals, and that they understood that it is time to take a step forward and for the animals to have a better life in a sanctuary. After solving legal procedures, to formally donate the animals to a sanctuary, the circus made the largest donation made in Spain of felines to a sanctuary, delivering seven tigers and a lion”

Circus Wonderland DONATES seven tigers and a lion to the ‘Primadomus’ Foundation:

7 tigers DONATED by circus:

A circus DONATES a lion and seven tigers

Circus Wonderland DONATES seven tigers and a lion to the largest rescue centre for exotic animals:

The Wonderland Circus DONATES its wild animals to a rescue centre in Villena:

A circus DONATES seven tigers and a lion and promises not to use animals again:

The Wildheart Trust is in the wrong here and everyone knows it.

Come clean. Admit you added sizzle to the sausage to raise more money. Fess up. Do the honourable thing before this situation goes up a few gears and perhaps threatens the very future of the tigers and other animals you rehomed.

Update December 2021: Extraordinarily, the Fundraising Regulator still claim, after external review, there hasbeen no code breach by Packham’s charity although the magazine welcomes their recognition of Wildheart Trust’s (now Wildheart Sanctuary’s) lies via Packham in this particular crowdfunder. This investigation by the Fundraising Regulator was related to just one crowdfunder. The others involve different complainants, and we shall report back on the Fundraising Regulator’s findings on those when we have them. The Fundraising Regulator’s findings can be found here. Note the small print: