Page last updated at 23:10 GMT, Sunday, 24 August 2008 00:10 UK

Snaring of badgers 'increasing'

Badger
Scottish Badgers is worried about the effect of snares on badger numbers

Incidents of badgers found snared have increased, according to figures recorded by charity Scottish Badgers.

Fourteen have been reported so far this year - 12 of the cases between February and June. The incidents involved 19 animals.

Ian Hutchison, of Scottish Badgers, said the organisation had been calling for snares to be outlawed.

The Scottish Government said it was an offence to set a snare in such a way that it could harm a badger.

The government said on 20 February it was not banning animal snares, but was tightening legislation on their use.

Mr Hutchison said: "Scottish Badgers is very concerned about the misuse of snares in the countryside."

BADGER DEATHS
Scottish Badgers believe a third of road deaths are reported to them
Autumn is a peak time for road casualties as the animals roam around marking current or new territory
The charity is looking into the potential impact on the mammals from major developments planned in the A96 corridor, the stretch of land between Nairn and Inverness

The charity's figures showed four incidents in 2003 and again in 2004, 11 in 2005, 12 in 2006 and 10 last year.

In February, environment minister Mike Russell said alternatives to the wire traps were not always suitable, and an effective form of predator control was vital.

He told the Scottish Parliament the control of animals, such as foxes, through snares, helped maintain Scotland's world-famous 240m shooting industry, boost conservation projects and assisted farmers in protecting their animals.

He announced a series of measures on the use of snares, such as the compulsory fitting of safety stops, ID tags and marking areas where snaring takes place with signs.

The minister also pointed to findings by the British Veterinary Association that "in some circumstances, snaring might be the least inhumane method where control is necessary".

Road deaths

In response to Scottish Badgers' figures, the Scottish Government said it was an offence to set a snare in such a way that it could cause bodily injury to a badger.

A spokeswoman added: "Anyone with evidence of such practice should report it to their local police wildlife crime officer.

"The Scottish Government is in the process of tightening legislation on snaring.

"This will introduce a number of provisions aimed at substantially reducing the number of non-target animals, such as badgers, caught in snares."

Meanwhile, Scottish Badgers continues to monitor badger road deaths.

The number so far is 600, which Mr Hutchison said was average and not any higher or lower than previous years.

Up to 800 of the mammals perished on roads every year.

Autumn is a peak time for road casualties as the animals roam around marking current or new territory.


SEE ALSO
Research finds rise in hare kills
22 Apr 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Ministers reject snare ban plea
20 Feb 08 |  Scotland
'Bounty' set for wind farm hares
24 Mar 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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