Farm­ers fear ea­gles will put lambs to the slaugh­ter

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Amy Woody­att

FARM­ERS fear a plan to in­tro­duce ea­gles to the Isle of Wight could lead to lambs be­ing killed.

The birds of prey, with a wing­span of up to 8ft, could prove a me­nace across the south coast, say farm­ers’ lead­ers.

The Forestry Com­mis­sion is work­ing with a char­ity to rein­tro­duce white­tailed ea­gles, also known as sea ea­gles, to the Hamp­shire is­land in an at­tempt to boost tourism. The bird had been ex­tinct in the UK but has been rein­tro­duced in Scot­land and Ire­land.

Matt Legge, county chair­man of the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Union said: “We did a lot of re­search on what went on in Scot­land. There were con­cerns about dam­age to hare pop­u­la­tions, and some re­ports of birds at­tack­ing adult sheep and lambs.

“If these birds are in­tro­duced and at­tack live­stock there are no con­trol mea­sures. They can’t cull them be­cause they are pro­tected birds.”

How­ever, Roy Den­nis, di­rec­tor of the Roy Den­nis Wildlife Foun­da­tion, said: “There is a lot of food for the ea­gles on the Isle of Wight – there are lots of other birds dy­ing or in­jured, and the ea­gles would eat them. Farm­ing is pro­duc­tive, and the sheep are big. They are not at risk.

“There is tremen­dous in­ter­est from ordinary peo­ple on the is­land. It would help with tourism.”

The foun­da­tion es­ti­mates ea­gle tourism gen­er­ates up to £5mil­lion to the econ­omy of the Isle of Mull and £2.4mil­lion to the Isle of Skye each year.

A spokesman for the The Royal So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of Birds said: “The rein­tro­duc­tion of any species needs to be care­fully man­aged … to en­sure that the project works for lo­cal wildlife and lo­cal peo­ple.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.