I’m A Celebrity ‘investigated by police’ over bushtucker trials – but show defends its use of bugs | Ents & Arts News
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has defended filming with bugs in Wales following reports that police are investigating the show over concerns it is using non-native wildlife.
A spokesman for the hit ITV series, which has moved from Australia to the UK this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, said all insects used for bushtucker trials are “non-invasive species” and only released in a contained area.
But North Wales Police is reportedly investigating the show over its use of insects such as cockroaches, maggots, spiders and worms, according to The Guardian, following complaints the species could threaten wildlife in the area around Gwrych Castle, near Abergele.
There is a potential breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act if the programme failed to get a licence for the release of the bugs, the newspaper said.
Following the report, the RSPCA reiterated its previous calls for I’m a Celebrity “to be a highly entertaining show without the use of animals” and encouraged viewers to contact Ofcom.
The I’m A Celebrity spokesman said: “All of the insects used on I’m A Celebrity are non-invasive species.
“They are only ever released in a contained area and collected immediately after filming.
“The bugs are UK-bred and are commercially purchased in the UK for birds and exotic animal feed for pets and zoo keepers in normal circumstances.
“Our insects have been donated to local wildlife sanctuaries, trusts and zoos for their exotic animal and bird feed after filming.”
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Welsh naturalist and BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams has criticised the show for its use of the creatures.
In a tweet last week, he said: “As well as the moral issue of using wild animals for entertainment, surely there are huge ecological issues here also.”
Speaking to The Guardian, he said: “I’m not sure which species they’re releasing, but I can tell you they’re not native. We don’t have those cockroaches here in the UK and we certainly don’t have them in North Wales.”
Celebrities including athlete Sir Mo Farah, Coronation Street star Beverley Callard, EastEnders actor Shane Richie and TV presenter Vernon Kay are among the stars competing in this series of the show, which has been running for 18 years.
Sky News has contacted North Wales Police and Natural Resources Wales for comment.