Wildlife SOS presenter Simon Cowell dies aged 72

Wildlife SOS and Animal Planet presenter Simon Cowell has died aged 72 after “a brave battle with cancer”, the charity he founded has announced.

In a statement on their website, the Wildlife Aid Foundation wrote: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of Simon Cowell MBE, conservationist, founder and CEO of the Wildlife Aid Foundation and presenter of Wildlife SOS.

“Simon passed away peacefully on Sunday (June 9), surrounded by his daughters, his partner and his dogs, after a brave battle with cancer.

“Simon was one of the UK’s most respected conservationists and a passionate advocate for wildlife protection and environmental causes.

“He dedicated his life to British wildlife and worked tirelessly to ensure countless injured and orphaned animals were given a second chance in the wild through rescue, clinical treatment, and rehabilitation.”

“He campaigned relentlessly to raise awareness of the plight of wildlife and the importance of all species.”

Recalling the start of his passion for wildlife, the charity said that Cowell began to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife in his home and garden in the early 1980s as a “distraction” from his job as a broker in London.

This hobby eventually became a full-time job and he established Wildlife Aid charity, now the Wildlife Aid Foundation, in 1987.

Cowell was known for creating and presenting the television series Wildlife SOS for Channel 5 and appearing on Animal Planet on Discovery in the 1990s.

In 2005, he was made an MBE for services to wildlife and frequently appeared in the media discussing environmental matters and promoting conservationism.

Cowell shared his terminal lung cancer diagnosis in July 2022 through his charity which launched an appeal called Simon’s Last Wish in aid of a new wildlife centre for the Wildlife Aid Foundation.

The centre will feature habitats including wetland and woodland for wildlife to make their homes in, viewing platforms, a visitor’s centre and a new wildlife hospital.

The appeal has since raised more than £650,000.