The RSPCA has launched an investigation into the deaths of three badger cubs found dead and skinned near their sett in a Tameside country park.
The body of a badly decomposed dog was also found stuffed into a holdall nearby, and is considered to be connected to the series of already suspicious discoveries made only days apart at Reddish Vale Country Park.
A member of a wildlife group reported finding the first cub on Thursday 25 March, before another was discovered on Thursday 1 April, and yet another the following Monday.
Inspector Jessica Araujo explained there is no evidence the cubs had been dug up by humans, and that the set did not seem to have been disturbed.
She said: “I am not sure whether someone has found the cubs dead and skinned them, but it seems very strange.
“I am just hoping they were dead before their skin was removed. They cut them to the bottom of their body and left the skin on.”
Inspector Araujo is appealing to the public for information that may help the RSPCA to ascertain what happened to the cubs and the dog.
Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, it is an offence except under licence to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger or to attempt to do so, or to cruelly ill-treat a badger.
It is also an offence for anyone to have in their possession or under their control any dead badger or any part of, or anything derived from, a dead badger.
Anyone who can help the investigation should contact the RSPCA Appeals on 0300 123 8018.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit their website or call their donation line on 0300 123 8181.