Public urged to help combat badger crime after latest horrific attacks

Serious attack on badger volunteer by suspected badger diggers and public dumping of shot badgers highlight level of persecution

Badger Trust has condemned a horrific attack on a wildlife campaigner, who was left unconscious after being savagely attacked by badger diggers armed with spades and dogs, which they used against him after he disturbed them. The campaigner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was checking on known local badger setts when he came across a group of men who were actively digging a badger sett. Unable to reach the police due to a poor mobile signal, he confronted them and was set upon. He was beaten unconscious but later managed to come round and seek help and subsequent medical attention. He received 42 stitches to his head and will need plastic surgery on his ear.

Despite his ordeal, he was out again the next day checking on local setts, commenting:

‘I’m healing up slowly and will make a full recovery, but rather me than the beautiful harmless badgers. How anybody could ever want to hurt them is beyond me, all they want to do is live in peace. I feel that I can’t rest as there is so much to do out there, with the constant persecution of our wildlife.’

The attack took place on 28th April 2021 near the Little Lever area of Bolton. Greater Manchester Police are asking for anyone with any information relating to the attack to contact them on 0161 856 5757 quoting reference ‘2864 on 28/04/21’.

This incident comes just two weeks after three badgers were found shot and then dumped near to a public footpath in Chinley, Derbyshire, in an act of senseless persecution. Dumping the bodies by a public footpath highlights the lack of respect for the lives of the animals, and the blatant disregard for the distress the sight would cause to the public coming across the scene. The badgers were discovered on 18th April 2021, and anyone with any information should report it to the Derbyshire Police Rural Crime Team on 101, quoting reference 21*212071.

Dawn Varley, Acting CEO of Badger Trust, said:

‘The targeting, abuse and ultimate killing of badgers is unfortunately nothing new. The badger is the only animal in the UK to have specific legislation to protect it due to relentless persecution, and these latest attacks show the brutal nature of those that seek to abuse them – to the point of attacking someone who sought to challenge and stop them. We thank the wildlife campaigner for trying to protect badgers, and wish him a speedy recovery.’

She continued: ‘To help combat badger crime we ask the public to stay vigilant whilst out in the countryside, look out for signs of interference, report any suspicions, and in particular to come forward with any information that could assist the police in these cases. We recently produced a 15-minute film on how to recognise, record and report badger crime, and encourage the public to watch it to help educate themselves and to help save badgers from unspeakable acts of persecution.’

How you can help us stop badger crime

Badger Trust has staff resource dedicated to monitoring and tracking badger crime across England and Wales, working closely with police to follow ongoing investigations and assist as needed. This ensures that no case slips through the cracks, giving the best chance to achieve more wildlife crime prosecutions.

By reporting badger crime the information you provide could help investigators bring offenders to justice. Your reports support vital campaigning work calling for changes to the law to improve the lives of thousands of animals.

If you see a badger crime or suspicious incident in progress:

  • call 999 and ask for police assistance

  • ensure you get a reference number for your call

  • report the incident here on our website using our online form

If you discover a badger crime that has already happened:

  • call the police on their non-emergency number 101

  • ensure you get a reference number for your call

  • report the incident