Badgers found dead, but was it down to baiting?
While South Yorkshire Police said they did not believe incidents reported last month were related to badger baiting, a member of a local wildlife group told the Advertiser that the targeting of wildlife was very much an issue in the area.
Fresh concerns have been raised following the deaths of two badgers in Maltby and Thorpe Salvin last month.
The wildlife campaigner, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said: “It seems like a family tradition passed down from parents to children who take them to participate in it. It is just so wrong.
“How can anybody be entertained by this? It only takes a few to make a significant impact — people are digging badgers out and upsetting the dynamic of the family.
“It is not allowing the animals to do what they are doing.”
The campaigner said badgers were peaceful and would never harm livestock, adding: “They mostly eat worms and beetles, and they cause no real harm.
“They are putting three, four or five dogs on one badger — it does not stand a chance.
“It is a terrible idea to call it a sport — it is just animals fighting.
“There’s something wrong with these people.”
A police spokesperson for rural, wildlife and heritage crime, said: “We, unfortunately, have received two reports of dead badgers being found in the Rotherham South area, Maltby and Thorpe Salvin.
“We are still investigating the circumstances, but it appears that they may have been killed by dogs, or intentionally run over by an off-road vehicle.
“At this stage, we don’t believe these incidents to be baiting, but we have seen an increase of this activity and the offenders are using quads, which leaves massive amounts of damage to farmland, especially as farmers are replanting for next year’s crops.
“Drone surveys have been carried out and we are gearing up our response to this emerging problem.
“We are going to be increasing our proactive patrols and work to deter any further incidents of this nature.
“We are also working with our colleagues at Nottinghamshire, badger groups and local farmers and we continue to link in with Maltby NPT and Doncaster NPT where the problem is persisting.”