Sheep found liv­ing wild near Tum­mel Bridge face cull if owner not found.

AP­PEAL: An­i­mals may have to be culled as they pose threat to plants

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Jamie buchan jabuchan@the­courier.co.uk

A flock of lost sheep spot­ted wan­der­ing through a High­land Perthshire for­est face be­ing culled.

Around 20 un­marked strays were dis­cov­ered liv­ing to­gether in re­mote wood­lands around Drum­nakyle, near Tum­mel Bridge and the Forestry Com­mis­sion has now launched an ur­gent ap­peal to track down their owner.

The Perth-based au­thor­ity says the rogue sheep need to be re­moved within the com­ing weeks to make way for a ma­jor tree re­place­ment op­er­a­tion.

Be­cause the sheep are re­garded as a “biose­cu­rity risk” and are highly un­likely to be mar­ketable, they will be culled if they go un­claimed.

A spokesman for For­est Enterprise Scot­land (FES), the gov­ern­ment agency re­spon­si­ble for manag­ing the coun­try’s for­est es­tate, said: “The sheep are still in the for­est and al­though none of them are marked, we are li­ais­ing with seven lo­cal neigh­bours, ten­ants and landown­ers to try and de­ter­mine whose sheep they are.

“We’re due to carry out some re­stock­ing in that area soon but sheep would make short work of any­thing we plant. That’s why we’d like to see them re­moved as soon as pos­si­ble.

“If no one comes for­ward to claim them by the end of next week, we will write out again ad­vis­ing that we will take steps to re­move them, ide­ally by the end of De­cem­ber.”

The ap­peal fol­lows the launch of bet­ter di­a­logue with farm­ers to man­age stray sheep.

FES worked with Po­lice Scot­land and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to pro­duce guid­ance with in­dus­try bod­ies, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Farm­ers Union of Scot­land (NFUS).

In a state­ment is­sued at this year’s launch, FES agri­cul­tural ad­viser Robin Wad­dell said: “For the vast ma­jor­ity of cases we work very well with our neigh­bours and can re­solve sheep tres­pass is­sues pretty quickly.

“This is how we would like to con­tinue – keep­ing an open di­a­logue through­out and work­ing to­gether to get the an­i­mals back to their own­ers.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it doesn’t al­ways go that way and the guid­ance will help our staff man­age the times when ac­tion is needed.”

In re­cent times, the FES has dealt with 190 cases in­volv­ing 1,500 an­i­mals, mostly in the Bor­ders, Gal­loway and Dum­fries ar­eas.

The NFUS has warned that feral or stray sheep can pose a health risk and could spread dis­eases like sheep scab.

The sheep at Drum­nakyle have no iden­ti­fy­ing tags or mark­ings. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is urged to call the Forestry Com­mis­sion’s Tay of­fice on 0300 067 6380.

We’re due to carry out some re­stock­ing in that area soon but sheep would make short work of any­thing we plant. FES SPOKESMAN

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