An increase in the use of snares and stink pits in the Peak District has led to a surge in local wildlife deaths.
Snares are used to systematically trap any predators that may eat grouse or their eggs.
These victims are most commonly foxes and mountain hares but badgers, sheep and even dogs and cats have been caught in these snares.
Simon Wild from the National Anti Snaring Campaign said: “Snares do not act as a holding device but torture an animal just as if a piece of cheese wire was around a person’s neck.”
Stink pits, piles of dead animals, are also used to attract predators to be caught and killed. Common stink pits in the Peak District consist of dead foxes, mountain hares, crows, pheasants and chickens.
Adam Davies, a Moorlands Monitor Community Volunteer said: “Visitors to the Peak District do not want to find piles of treasured wildlife left out as a lure to kill yet more animals.
“They are a blight on our landscape and often breach environmental legislation on safe disposal of livestock”.
The Hunt Investigation Team and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have confirmed that lockdown has increased the use of snares and stink pits.
Mr Davies said: “Lockdown has emboldened those who wish to harm wildlife, as there have been fewer people in the area to witness wildlife crime”.
Despite the police being alerted to illegal snares on numerous occasions, there has been no prosecution.
Even badgers, a legally protected species, have been described by the police as “collateral damage” when Moorland Monitors reported snares set on an active badger run in the Peak District.
Moorland Monitors are a grassroots community working to protect wildlife in the Peak District.
They are campaigning for an outright ban on snaring and an increase in prosecution for these wildlife crimes.
Whilst most snares used are legal, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found that they catch as many non target animals as they do the intended victims.
Mr Davies said: “If widespread wildlife crime and cruelty cannot be prevented, we need an outright ban”.