I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has defended its use of bugs amid reports the programme is under police investigation for releasing non-native wildlife during filming.
A spokesman for the programme said all of the insects used during the programme are “non-invasive species”.
Police are investigating the programme over its use of non-native species of bugs including cockroaches, maggots, spiders and worms, according to The Guardian.
The newspaper said the programme had potentially breached the Wildlife and Countryside Act if it failed to get a licence for the release of the insects.
I’m A Celebrity is being filmed in Wales rather than its usual location in Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A range of insects have been used during the programme’s notoriously unpleasant trials which have seen large quantities of bugs dumped onto the celebrities as they take part in challenges.
The programme’s spokesman added: “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.”
Welsh naturalist and BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams raised questions over the programme’s use of the creatures.
Last week he tweeted: “As well as the moral issue of using wild animals for entertainment, surely there are huge ecological issues here also.”
Celebrities including athlete Mo Farah, TV presenter Vernon Kay and journalist Victoria Derbyshire are among the famous faces taking part in this series of the programme.
Filming is taking place at Gwrych Castle near Abergele, north Wales.