Otter killed in illegal trap on Grand Union Canal at Berkhamsted

WARNING: Some may find the image and details of cruelty distressing

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 12:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 12:31 pm

The RSPCA is appealing for information after an otter was killed by an illegally set trap which had been left baited in the Grand Union Canal at Berkhamsted.

The shocking discovery was made by a member of the public who spotted the trap in the water near Castle Street Bridge on September 3.

RSPCA Inspector Andy Eddy, who is investigating for the animal welfare charity, said: “It’s so upsetting to imagine what an awful and drawn out death this poor otter would have suffered as it tried to struggle free.

A member of the public spotted the trap in the water near Castle Street Bridge (C) Google Maps

“We’re really keen to hear from anyone who has information about who set this trap.

"Two large butchers bones purposefully stuck in the net, and there is concern it had been baited intentionally to catch the otters.

“Anyone with information connected to this incident should contact our inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

The Environment Agency has confirmed the trap, thought to be a crayfish trap, had been set on the waterway illegally and was not registered.

Otter killed in illegally set canal trap in the Grand Union Canal (C) RSPCA

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “In the event of any members of the public finding a trap of any description in the canal, it is requested they report the finding immediately to the Environment Agency via the telephone number 0800 807060.”

Under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations, 2017 (as amended) and the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to capture, kill, disturb or injure otters.

Anyone found guilty of an offence could get an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison.

To help the RSPCA continue our vital work through these unprecedented times, visit: www.rspca.org.uk/covid.