UK’s sea eagle splits conservationists and farmers

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Sea eagle carries away a lamb

Conservationists are delighted because sea eagles are thriving after being reintroduced in Scotland more than 40 years ago. Sheep farmers have the opposite viewpoint as they are concerned about their impact on livestock. A photograph emerged showing a sea eagle flying off with a lamb in its talons on the Isle of Mull. Although some experts might say that the eagle is carrying away a lamb that had died of natural causes before the eagle arrived.

Sea eagle carries away a lamb. Photo: Deadline News.

Scotland’s state funded conservation agency is going to test some defensive measures including issuing farmers with giant inflatable scarecrows. Other defensive measures include removing trees near to areas where there are lambs because sea eagles nest in these trees, and “diversionary feeling”.

Another unorthodox defensive measure against the sea eagles would be to shine laser beams on hillsides! Conservation is always competing with farming, no matter where you are.

The agency is going to track the effectiveness of these techniques. They want to protect farmer’s livestock while not harming the birds.

The birds’ reintroduction in the 1970s has resulted in 130 pairs today with a projection of 700 pairs by 2040.

A spokesperson for the National Sheep Association, Sybil Macpherson, said that farmers were at their wits’ end:

“Nobody ever anticipated that they would be this successful.”

Sybil Macpherson

The birds kill red deer calves, puffins, hares, and as mentioned lambs. Sea eagles even kill golden eagles. This is a very successful hunter with a wingspan up to 2.5 metres.