RSPCA Cymru is appealing for information following three “concerning” incidents involving badgers in South Wales.
There has been a badger sett disturbance and alleged poisoning in the Spittal area in Pembrokeshire, a badger has been found dead in a snare in Pontgarreg, Ceredigion, and a badger has also been found caught alive in a snare in the Neath area.
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said the three incidents – which are not related – are “troubling and concerning”.
Although the snares involved in these incidents are legal to use for some species, it is an offence to catch badgers using snares and users of legal snares must take reasonable precautions to prevent protected animals such as badgers from being caught or injured by them. It is also a legal requirement that snares be checked at least once a day, yet from the severity of the injuries caused to many animals it seems that many people do not follow even this minimal requirement.
He said “These incidents are troubling and concerning and we would like to remind people that it is an offence, under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, to wilfully injure, kill or take a badger (except under licence). Badgers are also listed under Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which would make the use of a snare to catch badgers an offence. It is also an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to a badger sett except under licence.
“Snares can cause a huge amount of pain and distress to animals – both pets and wildlife – and this incident is another example of why their use is both inhumane and indiscriminate.”
The badger sett disturbance and alleged poisoning near Spittal was reported to the RSPCA on 31 March.
Inspector Hogben said: “This is a badger sett that has had several of its entrances filled up with ‘sugar beet’ that had not been soaked, which if ingested could cause gastrointestinal problems in some animals.
“The sett entrances were cleared of the beet and the sett does still look active but the beet had been down for at least three days. The Dyfed Powys Police rural crime team have been informed and are also investigating.”
A badger was sadly found dead in a snare close to the village of Pontgarreg – with the incident reported to the RSPCA on 1 April.
Inspector Hogben said: “The badger was already dead and was found close to an active badger sett. The badger had a ‘relax-a lock’ snare around its neck – which are supposed to break at a weak link if a non-target species heavier than a fox enters it. This has clearly not happened and the body of the badger has been sent away for a post mortem.”
This incident is also being investigated by the police.
A badger has also been found alive in a snare at Brynteg in the Seven Sisters area of Neath on Saturday (6 April).
“This badger has been found alive with a snare around its lower abdomen,” said inspector Hogben. “Again this snare is of the ‘relax-a lock’ type and one that should break if a badger was caught. Luckily we were able to release the badger from the snare, the badger is currently being given treatment and assessed with the hope it will be released back into the wild.”
The RSPCA is opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all snares and any trap which causes suffering. Snares are cruel and indiscriminate in what they catch. About 40 percent of snared animals are not the intended target species.
Anyone with relevant information about these incidents is urged to contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. All calls are treated in confidence.
Never try to free an animal from a snare or trap – you risk hurting yourself and the animal and it could be an offence if the animal was legally caught. Also, many animals caught by snares are more seriously injured than you think, so it is best that they are examined properly to see if they need veterinary treatment. Stay back to avoid stressing the animal and call us with the location on our 24-hour emergency line 0300 1234 999. More advice is available on our website at www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/injuredanimals.
If you wish to help RSPCA Cymru rescue animals such as this, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and rely on public donations.