SNH says no to sea eagle control

WTE Mike WatsonA spokesman for SNH has told the BBC that the growing population of Scottish white-tailed eagles should not be a concern, in response to the recent call for sea eagle ‘control measures’ from the National Farmers Union Scotland.

The BBC article (here) reports that the NFUS, in return, appears to be wanting to distance itself from any calls for a cull, (perhaps in response to strong public opinion,  see here) but does still think that relocating individual ‘problem’ birds might be an option.

Quite what they think that would achieve is anyone’s guess – if you create a vacancy in a viable territory then another pair will simply move in; it’s basic ecology.

There’s also an interesting quote from a Skye farmer, who says that scientists [who disagree with the purported number of lamb losses to eagles] “would say anything to support the continuing rise of the sea eagle“.

Hmm, not sure scientists are renowned for ‘saying anything’, are they? Now who was it that claimed that sea eagles might eat small children….?

There was similar anti-sea eagle hysteria whipped up in Perthshire in 2012, when the Courier headlined with: “Farmers distressed by savage sea eagle attack on newborn lamb” (see here). A later post mortem revealed it was more likely the lamb had died from hypothermia rather than a ‘savage sea eagle attack’ (see here).

Expect to see much more of this nonsense until the new compensation scheme has been agreed. Let’s just hope this ignorant intolerance isn’t used as justification to poison, shoot or trap any more of these eagles, nor fell their nesting trees….

WTE photo by Mike Watson

6 Responses to “SNH says no to sea eagle control”

  1. 2 Jimmy
    January 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    If you want a good laugh you should look at the Scottish Farmers facebook site – self appointed experts claiming that sea eagles are eating all the small ground nesting birds on the islands. Hard to imagine a Sea-eagle spending his day searching out meadow pipit nests!!

  2. 4 Tony Phillips
    January 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Sheep farmers the guardians of our uplands? It would be difficult in the UK of 2014 to find any other industry that would be allowed to cause as much environmental damage, lose money hand over fist and still be given wads of money from us taxpayers. Time to grow up and let go of this pastoral idyll they would have us believe, which of course has never really existed. But then again the same old argument is used, the same one used by the grouse moors, it is traditional. I prefer the word anachronistic.
    I do not think they really believe any of this guff they spout, they are simply spinning words because they want their compensation. Sea-eagles? Show me the money!

  3. 5 Circus maxima
    January 28, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Maybe its a sign that SNH are starting a recovery…..only a month till the staff have their “Andrew Thin is leaving” parties! We should all celebrate that one.

  4. January 29, 2014 at 8:36 am

    So will farmers get compensation for hypothermic lambs under the scheme?? That would be very encouraging for us sheep farmers… :-P (It would also save us in costs incurred disposing of the carcasses within the law.. as all scottish sheepfarmers do all the time).. Talk about taking the piss.. hey..

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