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Scottish trials to stop sea eagles stealing lambs

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Old Friday 24th May 2019, 10:13   #1
Kits
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Scottish trials to stop sea eagles stealing lambs

Potential methods to deter Scotland's growing sea eagle population from stealing lambs are being trialled.

After being hunted to extinction, the sea eagle was reintroduced to the west coast of Scotland in the 1970s.

It is thought scores of lambs are now being taken and killed every year.

Farmers and conservationists are now working together in a bid to find a solution. So-called distraction food and helium balloons are among counter-measures being trialled.




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Old Saturday 25th May 2019, 22:30   #2
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Whilst I do not doubt that the eagles take the occasional lamb it should not be forgotten that their primary food source is fish. I was told, by respected field zoologist, that when the compensation scheme was introduced during the early days of the reintroduction scheme if the eagles had actually taken the number of lambs that farmers were claiming for they would have been too fat to actually fly,
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Old Sunday 26th May 2019, 08:24   #3
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Originally Posted by Paul Longland View Post
Whilst I do not doubt that the eagles take the occasional lamb it should not be forgotten that their primary food source is fish. I was told, by respected field zoologist, that when the compensation scheme was introduced during the early days of the reintroduction scheme if the eagles had actually taken the number of lambs that farmers were claiming for they would have been too fat to actually fly,
Yep. Some say they often walk from flock to flock...
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Old Sunday 26th May 2019, 09:17   #4
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What about trials of potential methods to stop gamekeepers illegally persecuting birds of prey at the behest of their employers? I can think of a number I'd like to experiment with.....

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Old Sunday 26th May 2019, 14:09   #5
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I find it interesting that the word 'stealing' is being used in this article. It seems to be implying that the eagles are somehow morally guilty when they're just doing what eagles do. An example of journalistic 'spin' perhaps.
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Old Sunday 26th May 2019, 15:20   #6
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I find it interesting that the word 'stealing' is being used in this article. It seems to be implying that the eagles are somehow morally guilty when they're just doing what eagles do. An example of journalistic 'spin' perhaps.
I don't think its deliberate. Listening to and reading the work of normal journalists (e.g. Jeremy Vine) I find them incapable of doing other than anthropomorphising, and specifically in Vine's case, also incapable of being other than anthropocentric - so that he cannot conceive of any case of nature vs human in which it would be right to favour nature, and always attributes motives and even reasoning that would apply to a human acting similarly.

It is however characteristic of a narrow mind and limited intellect, which is why these people are journos and not scientists.

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Old Sunday 26th May 2019, 22:34   #7
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The best method may be to pay for lambs actually killed, and perhaps establish feeding stations during the lamb birthing season (may be filled with fish, or a much bigger number of lambs born dead). If such stations are rented to photographers for, say, 100GBP/person/day, they actually could bring more money than sheep.

In a perspective, food requirements of white-tailed eagle is 500-600 g per day. Most food is fish. The pairs are territorial which means that 50-100km2 of land have only two eagles and their eventual nestlings feeding over it. The total British population is under 150 pairs. So we are talking about really marginal problem.

If I understand, in early research in Scotland, it turned that most pieces of dead lambs found in nest of White-tailed Eagles had undamaged hooves, so were stillborn lambs, which were common in eagle country during the lamb birthing season.

And from the article, where some wool on a meadow is considered an evidence of White-tailed Eagle "lifting a lamb, plucking it and carying it away". The eagle weights only a little more than a 4kg newborn lamb. The eagle is unlikely to lift a lamb, except perhaps when it can glide down a steep slope. Then it is unlikely to carry it to the nest, perhaps in pieces over several days, leaving much pieces behind.

Yes, in most situations when damage by wild animals is solved by paying compensations, a problem was fraud and verifying claims. There is lots of experience gathered Europe-wide in the last decades. (But mostly on mammal carnivores, predation by birds is considered marginal problem).
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