UK wildlife charity Buglife claims that I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! 2020 brought invasive Turkish crayfish to Wales without a licence. It is against the law to keep them in the UK without a licence according to the Prohibition of Keeping of Live Fish (Crayfish) Order 1996.
Buglife’s CEO Matt Shardlow told The Guardian:
Entertainment isn’t one of the reasons why people should be having these dangerously invasive species at all – they just shouldn’t be using invasive species for sort of frivolous purposes... Now, I don’t know whether there was any risks of these particular ones escaping but that’s certainly something the police needs to look at.
In a statement to The Mirror, ITV insisted:
ITV did not release any Crayfish into the wild. We have systems in place within the controlled environment they were used in that ensured they were counted before, during and after use. When Crayfish were used on I'm A Celebrity they were sourced and hired through a specialist supplier and all returned after use.
This is far from the first time that I’m A Celebrity has been criticised by an animal or wildlife organisation. The show was investigated by rural crime officers back in November over similar fears that non-native critters used on the show could escape and damage the local eco-system.
I’m A Celeb 2021
It’s not yet clear whether I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! 2021 will return to its usual jungle setting in Australia or whether the show will take place in north Wales’ Gwrych Castle once again. The show’s producers are also reported to have floated the idea of switching between Wales and Australia each year.