A government worker who stuck a badger skull on a stick to taunt animal-lovers in north Devon has been reprimanded.
Thousands of badgers are being killed in a trial cull
A macabre message was found tied to the skull near Shebbear where the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is killing badgers as part of their investigation into bovine tuberculosis.
One of the wildlife unit, which does the trapping and killing, has admitted leaving the badger's skull.
Tied to it was an official form listing the number killed and a note saying Must Try Harder.
Now Defra managers have apologised for the message and say that they are disciplining the officer.
He has since said he regrets his actions.
Senior members of the department have told staff from the Cornwall-based wildlife unit that such behaviour is unacceptable.
Up to 10,000 badgers are being killed as part of a five-year government programme to try to establish whether they spread tuberculosis in cattle.