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Chris Packham’s stepdaughter Megan McCubbin’s unusual childhood

Winterwatch: Megan McCubbin discusses the hedgehog population

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Megan McCubbin, who is the nature-loving step-daughter of Chris Packham, spoke candidly about her love of animals and the need to protect our wildlife in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. The Springwatch presenter revealed when she was younger, she was surrounded by all kinds of critters in her childhood bedroom.

Megan, who teamed up with Lovat Parks over the summer, spoke about the wonders of wildlife and why it can really benefit us all to connect with our “wild side”. 

The documentarian knows a thing or two about that, as she has grown up with a myriad of diverse creatures all around her. 

Asked about what inspired her to work with animals for a living, Megan explained: “It’s so hard to pick a moment because I think my passion for nature happened over time, and probably happened quite quickly. 

“My childhood was just being around animals 24/7, including animals in the home -I had all kinds of things in my bedroom!”

The BBC star then went on to reveal she kept numerous creepy crawlies as pets growing up. 

“I had cockroaches, I had a praying mantis, I had tortoises,” she began. “But I had all the nice things as well. 

“I had a hamster, a gerbil and I had a rabbit at one point. And of course, two poodles! 

“So I had kind of the typical pets that you might expect… But also tarantulas and snakes and things as well. 

“There was wildlife in my bedroom, in my home, and then there was wildlife outside and it was just a natural progression. 

“There has never been one pinpointed moment which made me realise this is the career for me,” she reflected.

“I think it’s actually the little moments that really excite you. Like, for example, going to a badgers’ den and watching the badgers and their noses peek out from their set and they have a sniff and they start coming out.

“And you’re waiting there silently and you’ve waited there for hours, but you finally get the reward of a sniffling badger – it’s little moments like that,” Megan added fondly.  

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“And then you know, when you see your first nest, for example, of Spring and you’ve got the Blackbird singing, and they come flying in and out to feed their chicks.

“It’s things that make you happy and it kind of builds up this curiosity, I suppose, which is something you can never really quench because there’s always more to learn. 

“So, for me, it’s an ongoing process and ongoing journey of exploration; trying to understand as much as I can about all these incredible animals that we share our planet with.”

Megan has been working with animals all over the world and even made her Springwatch debut with stepdad Chris in 2020.

She spent much of her childhood growing up in and around the Isle of Wight Zoo, which specialises in the rescue and rehabilitation of ex-circus and pet trade animals.

The experience changed her life, sparking a life-long passion for animal rights campaigning and which has inspired her TV career. 

This was evident in a 2017 documentary, Undercover Tourist: Inside the Illegal Bear Bile Market.

Megan McCubbin has identified the UK’s ‘Big 5’ summer wildlife wonders in collaboration with Lovat Parks, the UK’s first B-Corp-certified holiday park, encouraging the nation to connect with its wild side and explore the rich diversity of nature in the UK. Visit www.lovatparks.com/thebig5 for more info and to download Megan’s Map along with top tips for responsible wildlife spotting.

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