Police are appealing for help in tracking down the callous criminals who set a badger trap in woods in Saline.
The illegal trap had been left on a fresh badger trail within metres of an active badger sett and was likely to have been set for the barbaric practice of badger baiting.
Police Scotland and the staff from Scottish Natural Heritage attended the scene and assessed trap and sett before removing it safely. Badgers are protected under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and it is an offence to attempt to trap a badger.
PC Lindsay Kerr, Fife’s wildlife and environmental crime co-ordinator, explained: “Historically people trap badgers for one purpose, badger baiting.
“This is a horrific practice of digging out a sett and then setting dogs on the badgers, which get ripped apart. “There are also real animal welfare issues around the dogs that are used. They usually suffer severe injuries and, as most vets will be able to tell how the dog was injured, they do not receive treatment from a qualified practitioner.
“Usually they are sewn back together in unhygienic circumstances by the baiters or worse, left to suffer from their injuries.”
Gavin Johnson of Scottish Natural Heritage said: “The wilful taking of a badger is an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and brought about by the historic persecution of badgers and their setts. We work with Police Scotland as a partner in Fife PAW (Fife Partnership Against Wildlife Crime), as is illustrated by this case in investigating illegal destruction and theft of animals, plants and habitats, both in the countryside and urban areas.”
PC Lindsay Kerr is appealing for anyone to come forward with information about this incident or badger baiting in general. He can be contacted directly at Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org or via 101.