A “crucified” badger has been found nailed by its feet to a tree 10ft in the air in a horrendous case of animal cruelty.
The shocking discovery was made in the Nant Glyn area of Denbigh, Wales, on Wednesday morning.
Police are appealing for information about the badger’s death, Wales Online reports.
A disturbing image shows the feet of the animal, which is a protected species, pinned to a branch with two nails.
Though the badger’s cause of death has not yet been established, its body has been submitted for a post-mortem.
PC Richard Smith, of the Rural Crime Team, said: “We can’t yet confirm what the cause of death of this animal was, but we have submitted the body for a post-mortem.
“Incredibly, badger persecution is still practiced in North Wales and we will continue to work with partners in tackling abhorrent incidents such as these.”
It comes after Boris Johnson backed an end to the badger cull which has led to the deaths of more than 140,000 of the animals.
North Wales Police rural crime team)
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Experts blame the creatures for spreading bovine tuberculosis around the countryside.
Some 140,830 badgers have been culled since 2013 in a bid to curb infections, including 38,642 last year.
Campaigners fear another 140,000 will be killed before the cull is stopped.
The Environment Department hopes to have a jab for cows by 2025, and eradicate bTB by 2035.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions last month, Mr Johnson told MPs: “We do think that the badger cull has led to a reduction in the disease but nobody wants to continue with the cull of a protected species – beautiful mammals – indefinitely.
“I do think it is a good thing that we are accelerating other elements of our strategy, particularly vaccination.
“I think that is the right way forward and I do think we should begin, if we can, to phase out badger culling in this country.”
The Mirror told this month how trials are underway of a skin test and cattle vaccine which could finally end the controversial cull.
A pilot which wildlife campaigners hope will save tens of thousands of badgers every year began on a Hertfordshire farm.
More than 27,000 cattle in England were slaughtered last year to tackle the disease.
Anybody with information about the incident in Denbigh is asked to contact officers at the North Wales Police rural crime team via the website or by calling 101, quoting reference number Z121155. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.