For enquiries, please contact ESBPS by email:

Badger Protection

Setts blocked with logs

Snared badger

The following actions are illegal

  • To take, injure, or kill; or to attempt to take, injure, or kill any badger.*
  • To cruelly illtreat, or dig for any badger, or use badger tongs.*
  • To possess a dead badger, or part of a dead badger which has been come by illegally, including a pelt.*
  • To sell, try to sell, or to keep a live badger.*
  • To mark, or ring a badger.*
  • To interfere with a badger sett, or disturb a badger.*
  • To bait a badger. §
    * 1992 Protection of Badgers Act. § 1835 Peases Act.

Exemptions to these provisions -

  1. Tending a sick badger,
  2. Licences may be obtained from Natural England for scientific, educational or conservation purposes, for marking and for zoological collections,
  3. Licences may be obtained from DEFRA to prevent spread of disease or damage to property.

Help us to Protect the Badger

The ESBPS was formed to watch over the local badger population, and to respond to any activities that may be detrimental to their welfare.

also see ‘Operation Meles’ under Campaigns.

Badger digging and baiting

This is on the increase nationally, so help us stop it occurring in Surrey.

Look out for cars parked in strange places, or men with spades and terriers.

Listen for sounds of unusual activity in quiet spots.

Take note of car registration numbers, makes and colours.

What should you do?

  1. Call the police on 999 (see also Badgers in Trouble webpage).
  2. Call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999
  3. Call Warwick Reynolds on 020-8688 9905 (mob. 07973 327017) or Ray Ings on 01883 380320 (mob. 07736 520332).
    Do not endanger yourself by challenging the perpetrators.

Interference by would-be developers

Interference to badgers and their setts by irresponsible developers has become an increasingly common problem.

Look out for tree felling and excavating in areas where badgers are known to live.

What should you do?

  1. Call your local Council or
  2. Call Warwick Reynolds or Ray Ings- see above.

Interference by vandals

What should you do?

  1. Call the police on 999 or your area Police Wildlife Crime Unit (see Badgers in Trouble) or
  2. Call Warwick Reynolds or Ray Ings see above

Do not endanger yourself by challenging the perpetrators.


Any badger found that appears to be poisoned.

What should you do?

  1. Call Warwick Reynolds or Ray Ings see above

Use of Snares

See how you can help below:

The following is based on the Badger Trust's website:  click
'What we do', click 'snares', scroll down to Snares.

Snares the Facts

Snares - wire nooses set to catch wild animals - have been in use for many years. Typically they are used to kill foxes and rabbits. They are usually placed over the entrances of rabbit burrows or fox earths, or along runs or pathways thought to be used by the target species. The aim is to catch the victims around the neck, so that they die through strangulation or by dislocation of the neck. Some snares however feature a mechanism which stops the noose from closing too tightly. These snares hold their victims alive until the person who set them comes back. The animals are then killed, usually by shooting.

There are several types of snare:

Free-running. This is the basic type of snare. The snare tightens when an animal caught within it struggles, but relaxes when the animal stops pulling. A variation on the free-running snare is the 'rocking eye snare. This has an eyelet which is heavier than normal, and does not allow the noose to slacken off so easily. This type of snare does not allow the animal to back out of the noose once caught.
Self-locking. This type of snare has a small metal device at one end. The wire is threaded through two holes in the metal. The effect of this is that the wire will only run one way. When an animal is caught in a self-locking snare, the noose will tighten, but does not slacken off when the victim stops struggling.
Dual-purpose. This type of snare has the same sort of small metal device at one end as the self-locker:
When the wire is threaded through the outer hole it is a self-locker (a).
When the wire is threaded through the inner hole the snare acts as a free-runner (b).


A self-locking snare continues to tighten as its victim struggles and does not relax when the animal stops pulling. This causes the noose to cut through the animal's skin and into its flesh, causing terrible suffering - a slow death by strangulation or even near decapitation. Some animals get their legs caught in snares, and end up with the snare cutting down to the bone - such animals may attempt to escape by gnawing off their own limbs. Other animals are caught around the body. Both badgers and foxes have been found with snares that have almost cut them in half, the snares around their bodies having tightened to around 5 cm in diameter - some of these animals are still alive when found.

a. self-locking

b. free running

Snares - Why we want them banned

Snares are indiscriminate

Gamekeepers and others who set snares may take precautions to try to ensure that they will capture only the intended victims. However, it is simply not possible to set a snare in such a way that it will only catch a rabbit or a fox and nothing else. The fact is that a great many badgers and other non-target animals are caught in snares every year. Other animals caught in snares include dogs, cats, sheep, horses, deer, and even otters. Many of these animals suffer a terrible fate.

Snares are barbaric

In theory the use of free-running snares, and the daily inspection of those snares required by law, means that snared animals do not suffer. They either strangle quickly, or hold their victims for a day at most until the animals are killed humanely by the persons who set the snares. That's the theory. In practice it is all too easy to set a free-running snare in such a way that it will cause tremendous suffering.

If a snare is attached to a post (eg fence post), the captured animal in its efforts to escape will end up wrapping the wire round and round the post until the noose is so tight that it causes serious injury.

Snares have been found positioned on the tops of walls or banks, so that when they catch their victims, the animals fall and are hung to death. Even when a free-running snare is set properly, the wire can easily become kinked or tangled in such a way that the snare acts like a self-locker.

The daily checking of snares ought to prevent prolonged suffering of those animals which are caught and injured by them. However, there have been many occasions where it is clear that snares have not been checked daily - or even weekly. The discovery of long-dead corpses with snares around their necks, legs or bodies is not uncommon. These animals will have died either as a direct result of their injuries, or by infection of their wounds or even by starvation. The suffering caused to animals by snares is unimaginable - and wholly unacceptable.

Outlawing Self-Locking Snares alone is not enough

Under the law as it stands, the use of self-locking snares is illegal. However, as we have seen, even free-running snares can cause tremendous suffering. This is only part of the problem however. Even if it was to be accepted that free-running snares do not on the whole cause as much suffering as self-lockers, there remains the difficulty of defining a free-running snare. Dual purpose snares can easily be converted into self lockers. And now there are newer types of snares, which are known to have maimed and killed badgers, cats, sheep, deer and hares, but which seem to defy classification as either free-running or self-locking. Different 'experts' have different opinions, and the result is a legal minefield when any attempt is made to prosecute a case where animals have been caught in these snares.

The ESBPS and the Badger Trust want to see an end to all the confusion, and an end to all the suffering. We want to see the use of ALL snares banned by law.

How you can help

If you find illegal self-locking snares set in position, or snares of any description set in such a way that they are likely to catch pets or protected species, please contact the RSPCA or the Police Wildlife Liaison Officer covering the area. In the case of snares set on a badger path or near a badger sett, please also contact the ESBPS (See Contact Us). Say exactly where you have found the snares. If possible, arrange to meet with whoever attends to investigate, so that you can show them exactly where the snares are. Please do not trespass in order to look for snares. Also, please do not damage or remove any snares - if you see a snare which you believe to be illegal, render it safe by closing the noose (with a stick for example).

If you find a live animal caught in a snare

Live badgers: Call the ESBPS, the Police or the RSPCA as soon as you can (see Badgers in trouble). Make sure that the Badger Trust is informed, so that the details can be collated. (See Links)

For other live animals: Call the RSPCA. Make sure that RSPCA Headquarters is informed, so that the details can be collated. (see Badgers in Trouble)

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RELEASE THE ANIMAL YOURSELF - NEVER CUT THE WIRE BETWEEN THE ANIMAL AND THE ANCHOR POINT. The animal could injure you, or it may suffer further injuries itself. It may even escape with the snare still in place, and die a lingering death.

If possible, arrange to meet whoever attends to guide them to the injured animal.

Do not interfere with a dead animal

Leave the body exactly as you found it so that the evidence can be fully recorded. Contact the RSPCA or ESBPS as appropriate (see Badgers in Trouble). If possible, arrange to meet whoever attends to guide them to the dead animal.

For more information or to download a copy of the incident form see click 'What we do', click 'Snares', scroll down to Snares.