Oakey the badger: Police investigate as rescue badger which suffered severe wounds from 'wire snare' dies

Oakey had been trapped for some time when he was found and rescued (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied)Oakey had been trapped for some time when he was found and rescued (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied)
Oakey had been trapped for some time when he was found and rescued (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied)
A tangled up badger saved by rescuers earlier this month has now sadly been put to sleep - due to serious wounds from a potentially illegal wire snare.

Warning: Story contains graphic content and images which may be distressing.

In a statement on social media, the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group said that earlier this month it received a call about a badger trapped in a Belper garden. The nearest rescuer went to investigate, and they found the animal tangled in wire, plastic and laurel branches, “alive but barely moving”.

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The badger, named ‘Oakey’ by his rescuers, is thought to have been trapped for some time. The wildlife advocacy and conservation group says it now believes Oakey was the victim of a wire snare - a thin noose used to trap animals sometimes seen as pests, like foxes or rabbits - suffering severe injuries which later saw him humanely euthanised.

“Poor Oakey was growling and crying in pain as our rescuer tried to free him from the branches he was tangled in, biting down on a stick due to the pain. It was a really tight space but our experienced rescuer managed to free him and get him into a cage,” the group said. “He was taken to the vets, still tangled in the snare, by two other members of our rescue group and kept in for two nights as he was severely dehydrated and needed monitoring. He also had a couple of nasty wounds because of the snare.”

Oakey had been recovering well in the rescue's care, but one of his wounds proved troublesome (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied)Oakey had been recovering well in the rescue's care, but one of his wounds proved troublesome (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied)
Oakey had been recovering well in the rescue's care, but one of his wounds proved troublesome (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied) | Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied

After being released by the vet, Oakey spent over a week being cared for by the rescue team. His condition quickly improved and one of his injuries appeared to be healing well, but on closer inspection a second, more severe wound - which resembled a deep cut all the way around his middle - would have needed several surgeries with little guarantee of success.

“The vet's decision was that the kindest course of action would be to put him to sleep,” the post continued. “We are comforted that he would have drifted off surrounded by people who cared, and that he is no longer suffering and in any pain.”

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The deep wound went all the way around Oakey's middle (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied)The deep wound went all the way around Oakey's middle (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied)
The deep wound went all the way around Oakey's middle (Photo: Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied) | Mid Derbyshire Badger Group/Supplied

Oakey was the very first rescue to use the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group’s new rehab unit, the group added. “We're pleased that the vet said he'd had the best of care and also very proud of our rescue team who worked so hard to make sure that his last days were as comfortable as possible. Rest in peace Oakey. You've touched all our of our hearts.”

A Derbyshire Police spokesperson told NationalWorld that it was believed that the badger had been injured by a snare, and their rural crime team were making enquiries in the local area. “We would like to hear from anyone who may have any information on where the snare may have been, or with any information which could help with our enquiries,” they added.

Badgers are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, while the use of snares in England is regulated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Free running snares can legally be used to control some animals. However, it is illegal to use them to target badgers.

If anyone has any information which might help with the force’s investigation, they are urged to please get in touch by either using the online contact form here, or by dialling 101 - using reference number 24*350013. You can also make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or by visiting the  CrimeStoppers website.

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Badgers are native to Britain, and are the UK’s largest surviving land predators. However, they have long been the victims of controversial and widespread legal culls to prevent the spread of bovine TB to cattle - with so many killed in some areas that activists fear local populations could be “wiped out”. Unfortunately, they are also sometimes illegally persecuted, with their protected dens - or setts - sometimes bringing them into conflict with land developers.

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