Devastated staff fear badger cub stolen from a Harborough wildlife rescue centre will be used for badger baiting

As we reported last week, the three-month-old baby badger was taken from Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital in Kibworth Beauchamp on the night of Monday July 19

Monday, 26th July 2021, 11:32 am
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 11:34 am
The three-month-old baby badger was taken from Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital in Kibworth Beauchamp on the night of Monday July 19

A much-loved badger cub stolen from a Harborough wildlife rescue centre will be used for “evil” badger baiting, devastated staff fear.

The three-month-old baby badger was taken from Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital in Kibworth Beauchamp on the night of Monday July 19.

And distraught staff left in tears by the cruel theft suspect the cub will be used to train dogs for the banned ‘blood-sport’ of badger baiting.

The raiders are now being hunted by police while the RSPCA has also been drafted in a bid to help find and recover the stolen animal.

Today Amy Ducker, a team leader at the wildlife hospital on Fleckney Road, told the Harborough Mail: “We suspect that the evil people who stole this poor badger cub from us are going to use it in badger baiting.

“They will use the cub to train their dogs to pull badgers out from their setts.

“They’ll use her to train them in finding and digging out badgers before sending them down setts out in the countryside,” said Amy, who’s worked at the complex for four years.

“The people who do this are just evil.

“I cannot even get my head round why they would do this.

“It’s difficult to find the words for the people who do this.

“It is just unbelievably cruel and brutal to do this to beautiful animals,” said Amy.

Badger baiting was outlawed almost 200 years ago in 1835.

The badgers being hunted are almost always killed and the small terrier-type dogs sent down to drag them out are often seriously injured or killed too.

“The police have been here to talk to us and study our CCTV footage and the RSPCA are working on this investigation as well.

“We understand that there is a definite suspect,” said Amy.

“But we haven’t heard anything new as yet.

“We are all just hoping and praying that this sweet little badger cub will be tracked down and recovered before it’s too late.

“There have been more than a few tears among the staff and volunteers here since this baby badger was so ruthlessly taken.

“The volunteers who were looking after her were just devastated when they found her pen empty the next morning.

“It’s just shocking, so awful, it’s hard to take in.

“This cub was such a fantastic character, she had a great personality, and we’d all come to love her,” said Amy.

“She was seriously emaciated and was so skinny when she was brought in.

“She’d obviously been without her mum, who’d probably died, for a long while and was very weak.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard to nurse her back to strength – and were hoping to release her back into the wild in the next few weeks.

“We were also looking after two other badger cubs.

“These despicable criminals tried to steal them as well last Monday night but thank goodness they failed.

“So we have freed those two back into the countryside just in case the thieves come back,” said Amy.

“They were a bit stronger than the cub who’s been taken.

“This raid was definitely highly targeted.

“They knew the badger cubs were here – and they came and broke in determined to steal them.”

The iconic wildlife hospital opened in Kibworth Beauchamp by Angie Downham back in 1984 is a charity and costs about £7,000 a month to run.

“The criminals have caused about £1,000 damage breaking into our enclosure to steal the badger cub.

“We have launched a fundraising appeal to help us repair our facilities.

“We are looking after about 100 baby hedgehogs at the moment as well as a lot of rescued birds such as swallows and house martins,” said Amy.

“We’ve also been battered by the Covid pandemic and lost a lot of money.

“So we really appreciate every penny that the amazing people of Harborough can contribute to help us survive.

“We are the only wildlife rescue hospital for miles around and take in struggling wildlife in from across the East Midlands so it’s critical that we keep going.”

The centre’s fundraising page had smashed its £1,000 target, raking in £1,210, by this morning as the outraged Harborough community rallies to support the shattered hospital.

You can donate here:

https://gofund.me/19d81167

The wildlife centre is also urging people who saw anyone acting suspiciously nearby last Monday night to contact them urgently.

"We would like to ask if anybody had seen anyone in the area (particularly Mill Lane in Kibworth) on or around that night that was acting suspiciously or carrying any equipment, to please let us know.

"In particular, we know that wire cutters were used to get into the enclosure.

“You can message us directly through Facebook if you have any information surrounding this,” said staff.

"We are praying that we can find her."

You can find their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/leicestershire.wildlife.hospital/

Leicestershire Police are also calling on anyone who has any information to contact them immediately.

“On Tuesday 20 July, a report was received that a badger cub had been stolen during a burglary at a wildlife hospital in Fleckney Road, Kibworth Beauchamp.

“It was reported that the cub had been stolen sometime between Saturday 17 July and Tuesday 20 July,” a police spokesman told the Mail.

“Enquiries are continuing and anyone with information is asked to contact police, quoting reference 21*406181.”