This pine marten was found with its leg caught in a spring trap on a Highland grouse shooting estate in the Monadhliaths last month. It was still alive when it was found. The trap was not anchored and the pine marten may have dragged itself (and the trap) some distance before it was discovered by hill walkers. The SSPCA was called out and the injured marten was taken to a vet to be euthanised.
The photographs appeared on Facebook yesterday, posted by one of the hill walkers, Andy Ross.
The circumstances leading to this incident are not known. This could have been an illegally-set spring trap, placed out in the open next to a bait to attract a passing raptor; this seems to be a recurring theme on some grouse moors. However, it’s also possible that the trap may have been legally set inside an artificial or natural tunnel and somehow the pine marten had managed to by-pass the entrance restrictor that is supposed to minimise the chance of a non-target species entering the tunnel. Mind you, if this had happened, it’s pretty hard to imagine that the pine marten would have been able to pull itself and the entire trap out through the restricted entrance hole.
Whatever the circumstances were, yet another protected species has suffered appalling injuries and lost its life, just so a few more grouse can be shot for fun later in the year, and nobody can be held accountable.
If the Scottish Government (and the Westminster Government for that matter) are going to continue to allow the use of spring traps, shouldn’t there be some sort of mandatory trap-user training and a requirement for each trap to be individually marked so the trap user can be identified, much like snare use is now regulated in Scotland?