eGRAPHIC images show how a protected badger was “trapped, caged and shot at close range with a caliber bullet” before being dumped on a pavement.
The animal was discovered in the “picturesque” town of Baslow, Derbyshire following its grisly execution, which took place outside a culling zone.
The badger was discovered on Sunday by retired policeman Russell Hubber, who operates the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group.
The gruesome photos show the otherwise healthy badger with a gunshot wound in the top of its head.
Another reveals how its jaw has been blown apart by the bullet’s exit, leaving the animal covered in blood.
63-year-old Russell, who has been involved with badger protection since the 1980s, says he has never seen such a “horrendous” killing before.
He took to social media to share the heartbreaking photos yesterday, writing: “I found a deceased, large, healthy looking badger which may have died the previous evening.
“On closer examination, I found what looked like a small gunshot wound to the head and exit wound from the lower jaw.
“I took the poor badger to colleagues for a second opinion and from there to a vet who X-rayed it and confirmed it had been shot at close range.
“Police are making enquiries and asking anyone with suspicions or knowledge of the incident get in touch.
“This is what we are facing each day – The persecution by evil villains and by an evil government.”
The harrowing pictures prompted an emotional response online.
Steve Whalen wrote: “What a disgrace the people involved in this should hang their heads in shame.”
Emma Gardner added: “This has made me so sad, poor badger just living his life and some awful human comes along and takes his life. Makes me so angry.”
And Barbara Brown said: “Horrible people doing this, do they not have feelings.”
Speaking today, Russell explained: “It’s rank arrogance, either it’s been dumped from a passenger side of a car and they’ve failed to make it look like road kill, or it’s a statement.
“To get such a clean shot they would have had to trap it, cage and shoot it with a caliber bullet. This poor badger, whoever did it couldn’t give a damn.
“It’s pointless and senseless.
“It’s misguided, less than 5% of badgers have TB and this one is actually outside the culling zone. It’s bloodlust.
“We are sympathetic to farmers and we want to work with them, but this is a horrendous genocide against a protected species in Britain.”