RSPCA received nearly a dozen calls about wild animals being 'intentionally' harmed in Derbyshire
There were almost a dozen incidents of wild animals being ‘intentionally harmed’ in Derbyshire last year according to the RSPCA.
In 2020, the charity received 11 calls in Derbyshire about incidents where animals were being ‘intentionally’ harmed in the wild.
The news comes after the RSPCA had nearly 10,000 incidents reported to them over the past 5 years from people concerned about deliberate harm to a wild animal – with deer, swans and hedgehogs being among the most abused.
New figures from the animal charity, as part of their Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, shows there were 9,997 reports of intentional harm inflicted on animals in the wild from 2016 to 2020 with deliberate cruelty to wildlife at its highest during the summer months.
Last year, 376 wild animals were reported to have been intentionally harmed across the lockdown months of June to August.
The five areas which topped the list with the highest number of wildlife abuse reports in 2020 were Greater London with 101 incidents, Kent reporting 37, West Midlands receiving 26 calls, 35 incidents in Greater Manchester and 30 in West Yorkshire.
RSPCA head of wildlife Adam Grogan said: “We say we’re a nation of animal-lovers and yet every year, we see wild animals in our wildlife centres and animal hospitals that have been badly injured or killed by being beaten, mutilated, poisoned, or shot for ‘fun’.
“Our data shows that reports of cruelty to wildlife surged over last summer.
"Police forces reported a rise in anti-social behaviour during that first lockdown, when pressures and frustrations may have led to more of this type of crime, leading to some seeking ‘entertainment’ through these sorts of barbaric incidents involving wildlife.”
The charity’s inspectors see first-hand the suffering inflicted by criminals on animals through wildlife crime such as airgun and crossbow shooting, badger baiting, dog fighting, illegal hunting with dogs including hare coursing and trapping birds.
In recent months, members of the RSPCA witnessed a hedgehog stoned to death in Nottinghamshire, a collared dove shot with a crossbow in Greater Manchester and a swan shot six times in Wrexham.
Adam added: “There is no place for cruelty to animals in today’s society and we urge anyone who spots anything suspicious when out and about or sees anything online to report it to either the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999, Crimestoppers or their local police force.”
Across a five year period (2016-2020), RSPCA data shows that foxes were the most persecuted wild mammal, with a total of 2,299 reports of intentional harm, followed by deer with 500 incidents and badgers totally 497 calls.
Pigeons were the bird most likely to be harmed intentionally with 1,518 cruelty reports received, with swans in second place with 700 calls, followed by 648 incidents involving gulls being harmed.
The RSPCA’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals from harm.
The charity receives around 84,000 calls to its cruelty line every month with approximately 1,500 of those relating to intentional cruelty and reports increasing by around 400 calls, on average, per month in the summer.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in need of care, visit their website or call their donation line on 0300 123 8181.