A badger suffered a slow and painful death after being caught in a cruel trap in Peterborough.
The wild mammal was discovered off a country trail in Hampton Nature Reserve in Nature’s Way, Hampton Hargate last Thursday (17 September) by a volunteer group monitoring wildlife in the area.
They found her collapsed and injured, with breathing difficulties, and called the RSPCA for help.
RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs said: “Sadly the badger died just minutes before I was able to get there.
“She had been suffering from extensive injuries caused by a snare, including a very swollen and infected head and face. At first I thought the injuries may have been caused by the badger fighting with another badger, but when I moved her neck I was shocked to find a strong wire, the type used in snares.
“This wire had looped around the badger’s head and into the mouth so tightly that it had cut into her flesh and cut off her blood circulation. The swelling meant that she would not have been able to eat or drink, and the resulting infection attracted an infestation of flies and small maggots in her mouth while she was still alive.
“It was horrific. Who knows how long she had been left to suffer this painful, prolonged death, but she was found in a remote spot so it may have been some time. I have come across a number of snared animals in the years I have done this job, but this is by far and away the most gruesome.
“Snaring can be such a cruel, indiscriminate method of capturing animals. Who knows what kind of wildlife the people who set this one were targeting, but their traps could have caught anything. The area where this badger was found is a popular walking spot for families, and is right on the edge of a new housing development, so the next victim could well be someone’s much-loved dog or cat.
“I urge anyone who knows anything about this snare to please contact us on 0300 123 8018, in complete confidence. We want to do all we can from preventing more unnecessary deaths.”
It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) to intentionally snare a badger and those found guilty of this offence can receive up to six months imprisonment or be fined up to £5,000.