Hundreds of wire snares are set across the national park, catching mammals indiscriminately. Gamekeepers say they are set for foxes but in reality they also catch badgers, mountain hares, sheep, dogs and even runners!
Snares are banned in all but five European countries because they cause such immense suffering. The UK needs to ban them too. Snares may be set legally (free-running) or illegally (self-locking) – both have been found in the Peak District.
Shockingly, the gamekeepers intensify snaring around nature reserves (where there is abundant wildlife) and in the spring (when females are pregnant). The gamekeepers are very strategic in how and where they place snares.
There is virtually no law enforcement on snaring – the sites do not have to be identified to the police or monitored by them so wildlife crime usually goes unseen.
Snares are often used in conjunction with “stink bins” or “stink pits” – piles of animal carcasses, strewn to lure in more predators. See our page Stink Bins & Pits for more information.
Pet cats and dogs are also at risk from traps and snares, as Molly’s Story explains.
In spring 2020, the Hunt Investigation Team filmed a gamekeeper setting snares on active badger runs near Wyming Brook Nature Reserve. They rescued the badger and published footage, which is heartbreaking.
The Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust have additional useful information and evidence from their Our Moors campaign.
HOW TO HELP:
- Monitor, monitor, monitor. Please check sites regularly, especially in late winter and early spring, when snaring is most intense.
- Animals are suffering and dying daily in these cruel contraptions, often just meters from popular tourist areas.
- Look out for injured animals and illegally set snares.
- Report your findings.
- Watch out for pet dogs off leads, and for pet cats if you live nearby. Both cats and dogs have been caught in snares.
- Ask your MP to campaign against snaring. The UK falls well behind other European countries in continuing to allow these barbaric devices. We need a change in the law: an outright ban on snaring.
- The Hunt Investigation Team have some useful info on identifying snare sites for monitoring. Their 2017 report from the Peak District exposed the true horror of snaring on the Moscar Estate.
- The War on Wildlife project has published several blogs on snares, including an article documenting breaches of the code of practice which is supposed to be followed by snare users.
Photos c/o Moorland Monitors, independent monitors and Hunt Investigation Team.