David Attenborough
David Attenborough

National TV treasure David Attenborough has turned prophet of doom by calling humanity "a plague."

He warned in the latest issue of The Radio Times that mother nature shall unleash catasphrophic disasters unless the human race changed its behaviour to slow down population growth.

"We are a plague on the earth," warned the presenter of BBC documentary series such as Africa.

"It's coming home to roost in the next 50 years or so. It's not just climate change, its sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde."

Attenborough is famous for getting up close to wildlife and cuddling gorillas, but he doesn't seem to have much affection for the human race. 

According to statistics from the United States, the world population could explode to 16bn by the year 2100, Attenborough believes drastic action is needed to avert such an explosion.

"Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us and the natural world is doing it for us right now," said Attenborough.

"We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia, that's what's happening; too many people there. They can't support themselves and it's not an inhuman thing to say. It's the case.

"Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a co-ordinate view about the planet it's going to get worse and worse."

Every year, 134 million people are born around the world, compared to 56 million deaths. The number of people on the planet has grown steeply since the 1950s during a population boom.

Attenborough has long been worried about the impact it could have upon the natural world. Indeed he joined the Optimum Population Trust in 2009.

It campaigns for an annual fall in UK population by a quarter of one percent, and brands any belief that the growing human population can always be supported by the planet as a "silent lie".

Optimum Population has also launched a campaign calling for families to stop breeding at two children.