Crofters blame eagles for rise in lamb losses

Sea eagles, reintroduced on Scotland’s west coast, are being blamed for the loss of over 200 lambs this season in one remote community.

The crofters and part-time farmers on the Gairloch peninsula refer to these huge predators as “flying barn doors” and have called a public meeting at the end of the month to debate how to deal with ever mounting losses of lambs.

The farmers have been offered no assistance from Scottish Natural Heritage and the RSPB – the two organisations responsible for the reintroduction.

William Fraser, chairman of Gairloch and Poolewe branch of the Crofting Foundation told Farmers Weekly losses were so dramatic his members originally blamed rustlers.

“But crofters have witnessed their lambs being lifted up and dropped by the sea eagle and we have had a post-mortem done on one lamb which confirmed there were talon marks on the carcass. “We have photographs of carcasses which have been stripped bare by sea eagles and one member has been close to a sea eagle’s nest which he described as being like a sheep’s graveyard,” he said.

The public meeting is to be held in Poolewe village hall on 29 September at 7.30pm.

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