A badger sett was found partially dug up in Aboyne
Wildlife crime officers are investigating a possible attempt at badger baiting in Aberdeenshire.
Grampian Police said part of a sett in the Aboyne area appeared to have been deliberately dug up in the past few weeks.
Badger baiting is where dogs are encouraged into a sett to hound out a badger and fight the animal.
The force has appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.
Wildlife crime officer Donald MacLeod said: "It appears that part of the sett has been deliberately dug up some time in the last few weeks."
He added: "This illegal practice results in the badger being killed at the sett or taken away where it is made to fight dogs."
Pc MacLeod said that although the practice was not common in the north east, it was still carried out in other parts of Scotland.