A sheep was killed by a dog just hours after arriving at a Nottinghamshire nature reserve as part of conservation work.
The Hebridean ewe belonging to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust was found mauled to death at Spalford Warren Nature Reserve, north of Newark.
It was found on Wednesday morning having only arrived the evening before.
The trust says it is just the latest death in a series caused by out of control dogs. It lost 12 sheep to dog attacks in 2015.
Traditional breeds of sheep and cattle are used on nature reserves to help preserve wildlife habitats and prevent sites becoming overgrown with scrub and trees.
The trust’s head of communications Erin McDaid said: “This is both distressing for our staff and costly to the trust as we need to replace the lost animals.
“This particular incident is very worrying – to lose an animal so quickly is shocking. We need dog owners to be responsible when around livestock. Most owners are, but a small minority don’t seem to realise the damage that dogs can do.”
He said the grazing programme at Spalford Warren, which has rare blown sand heath, includes signs put up to warn dog walkers when livestock are present.
Mr McDaid added: “It is very distressing that this happens year after year. Dogs should always be on a lead around livestock and it’s good practice to keep dogs on leads when visiting nature reserves at this time of year to help protect ground nesting birds too.”
Trust staff reported the incident to Notts Police, who are asking anyone with information to contact them on 101.