Golden eagle death prompts union warning

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Sea eagles could threaten the future of Scotland’s iconic golden eagle as well as traditional hill farming, according to a farming union.

The warning comes after a golden eagle was killed by a sea eagle at Kilninver, near Oban.

Farmer Colin MacFadyen was on his lambing rounds at Clachan Farm on April 5 when he noticed a sea eagle pecking the body of a newborn lamb which had been alive a few hours earlier. Around two feet away was the body of a golden eagle.

Mr MacFadyen’s father is NFU Scotland Environment and Land Use chairman Angus MacFadyen, who said: ‘This incident is another stark reminder of the invasive and dangerous effects sea eagles have had in some areas since they were re-introduced into Scotland.

‘Sea eagle predation of lambs is a serious issue for hill farmers like myself, not just around Oban but throughout the west coast and the islands. It is our lives and businesses which feel the devastating effects of losing livestock to these apex predators with little to no recourse to stop it.

‘With sea eagle predation so widespread in these areas, it is difficult for farmers to maintain the centuries-old tradition of self-sufficient hefted breeding flocks on these hill farms. These systems are vital to farmers and crofters in these areas and need to be maintained.’