Our new data has revealed we received reports of more than 2,200 incidents of cruelty to wildlife in 2020, with numbers spiking in May.
From hunting and fighting to beating and mutilation, incidents of 'illegal activity' and 'intentional harm' to wild animals started rising at the start of the lockdown this year:
194 in March
241 in April
381 in May.
We're concerned that as the nation goes into lockdown again and everything shuts down, some may turn to this barbaric behaviour for 'entertainment' and incidents may rise.
Lockdown has led to a rise in anti-social behaviour
Our National Wildlife Co-ordinator, Geoff Edmond, said: "Our data shows that reports of cruelty to wildlife surged during the first lockdown. We fear a similar peak could happen all over again during this second lockdown, as some people again look for savage ways to pass the time. Our inspectors see first-hand the suffering inflicted by criminals on animals through wildlife crime such as badger baiting, dog fighting, hare coursing and trapping birds. We've seen some particularly distressing incidents in recent months, such as a magpie shot with a crossbow and two hedgehogs doused in fuel and burned alive. Police forces have reported a rise in anti-social behaviour during the first lockdown, when pressures and frustrations led to more of this type of crime, and we fear it may lead to some seeking 'entertainment' through these sorts of barbaric incidents involving wildlife."