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Dead badger with snare wrapped around his neck

A second illegal snare has been found wrapped around a badger near Colchester

A dead badger was found, “almost garrotted”, laying in a ditch near Colchester. It was a grim sight found by members of a local badger group. But it wasn’t the time first time that the group had visited the area due to reports of an illegally snared badger.

North East Essex Badger Group said it found the body of a young badger at Fordham, near Colchester, on 16 March. The creature was found with a snare around his neck, with the group describing the device as having “almost garotted” the creature.

A member of the group who had attended the incident told Protect the Wild that the badger:

“was in a dreadful condition. The badger had obviously been scratching at the snare around [their] neck… The coils had been loosened and frayed.

“[He] had struggled so hard to get free by… [scratching] that the snare had shredded and twisted, thereby tightening by leaving no smooth wire the other side of the [the snare’s] clip.”

They added that the snare had likely been around the badger’s neck for a couple of days, and the badger himself had “probably been dead a day” before discovery. As the images show, the flesh around where the snare had cut into his body was still fresh.

The snare cut deeply into the badger's neck
The snare cut deeply into the badger’s neck, via North East Essex Badger Group.

Protect the Wild has contacted Essex Police for comment.

Two incidents in the same area

Protect the Wild previously reported that a member of the public reported finding a badger trapped by a snare to the North East Essex Badger Group. The discovery, which occurred on 25 February, took a mysterious turn when the badger disappeared. Two members of the badger group attended the spot within 15 minutes of the report to find a pool of blood and a snare – but no body.

Then, on 16 March, a member of the public reported finding another badger to North East Essex Badger Group. Two of its members attended the site with officers from Essex Police. This time, they found the dead body of a badger. And upon inspection, they found a snare that had cut deeply into the creature’s neck.

The group told Protect the Wild that the most recent body was found in a ditch approximately a field away from the February incident. And, like the previous incident, the snare in question was a professionally manufactured model.

Unlike the previous snare, though, this one wasn’t anchored at the time of its discovery. The body was found in a ditch along a hedgerow, freed from its anchor. The North East Essex Badger Group member told Protect the Wild that they would be “surprised” if the snare was set where the badger was found.

Blood, snare and sett entrance from the 25 February incident
Blood, snare and sett entrance from the 25 February incident, via North East Essex Badger Group.

Legal and cruel

Snares are legal devices. However, their legal use is only for trapping foxes and rabbits. But these cruel, indiscriminate devices more often than not catch unintended species such as badger. Critics and experts estimate that up to 70% of snared animals are non-target species. Even a Defra-funded study, carried out by the Game and Wildlife Conversation Trust (GWCT), achieved similar results.

That means up to 70% of examples of snare use are criminal. And that’s generously assuming legal intentions behind the placement of each snare. However, as several stories covered by Protect the Wild show, though, it’s clear there are overtly criminal intentions behind some snare use.

Despite this, Westminster refuses to properly engage in a debate around their legality. A 9 January Westminster Hall debate on banning snares saw representatives of the government hand-waving the issue away, as Protect the Wild reported. While Wales and Scotland are on the path to criminalising their use, those in the UK government continue turning a blind eye to these horrific devices. However, for wildlife on this island to live peacefully and free from oppression, we must ensure that snares are done away with permanently.

If you have any information relating to this story, please contact the North East Essex Badger Group or Protect the Wild.

Featured image via North East Essex Badger Group

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