Northern Ireland animal welfare charity, the USPCA said they were "horrified" and "appalled" after a young female badger was found caught in a snare in a village in County Tyrone recently.

The petrified young badger was discovered by a member of the public, who immediately contacted the animal welfare charity.

Free-running snares are legal in Northern Ireland and are primarily used for ‘wildlife management’, targeting the likes of rabbits and foxes.

Under the Snares Order (Northern Ireland) 2015, a snare must be checked at least once a day, and must not be set "in a place or in such manner where an animal caught by the snare is likely to (a) become fully or partially suspended, or (b) drown".

A USPCA spokesperson said: "Whilst we are unable to determine the duration for which this badger was entrapped, the depth of the hole the badger had dug in an attempt to free itself indicates that it was over a lengthy period.

"You can imagine how distressing this would have been for the animal.

"Upon being safely retrieved by Wildlife Rescue Officer Phil McCartney, the badger was examined by the USPCA veterinary team, who determined that the wounds were superficial, and apart from being dehydrated, the animal would make a full recovery.

"The badger was kept overnight for treatment, and then safely released back into its habitat."

Colleen Tinnelly, USPCA Chief Operating Officer, said, “This is a very distressing case. Snares are indiscriminate in nature and over the years we have seen cases of family pets being caught in them.

"They can cause a great deal of pain and injury to an animal.

"In this instance, the PSNI have been informed, as badgers are protected by law in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife Order (Northern Ireland) 1985, as amended by the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

"It is a criminal offence to cause harm to these animals.”

She continued: “Our team did a fantastic job in safely retrieving this poor badger and providing it with treatment and comfort.

"Thankfully, following the removal of the snare and the provision of pain relief, it showed great signs of improvement and was able to be released back into its own habitat.

“We’re very grateful to the member of the public who made us aware of this badger and assisted in its recovery and re-release.

“In incidents like this, the USPCA would urge the public to report it to the PSNI, or to speak to a member of our team at 028 3025 1000.”