A HORRIFIED farmer discovered a giant sea eagle shredding one of her newborn lambs.
Angry Rhona Duncan is blaming the death on the official policy of reintroducing the fearsome raptors to the east coast of Scotland.
The lamb was slaughtered at a farm eight miles north of Perth and around 40 miles from the nearest stretch of coastline.
Sea Eagles were reintroduced toScotlandin 2007 as part of a joint project by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Some 80 sea eagles – whose wingspans can be 8ft – are now living along the east coast. The organisers of the scheme promised farmers at the time that the birds would have sufficient natural prey not to attack livestock.
But Mrs Duncan, from Little Glenshee, near Bankfoot, discovered a sea eagle feasting on a lamb when she checked her flock earlier this week.
She said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw the huge bird feasting on something and I charged at it on my quad bike. It flew up into the air but dropped the carcass when it flew away and I saw that it was a new-born lamb.
“The poor thing was left with no ribcage, the bottom half of the skull was pulled out and its brains were scooped out. It’s just so surprising to see how much of it is gone.”
Mrs Duncan, 52, said the lamb, worth £25, was just born the night before the attack.
“It was a new-born lamb and the ewe was absolutely frantic. She was very upset and had obviously just licked the lamb over night.”
Mrs Duncan said that the birds should never have been allowed to be re-introduced and is calling for the numbers to be controlled.
“I completely disagree with this. I’m not against conservation and I have worked with the RSPB in the past but I feel that no consideration for the ordinary man has been taken.
“It is sheer ignorance and stupidity that they’ve allowed these dangerous birds back into Scotland. I would like for the RSPB to stop encouraging them.
“A special license should be introduced for gamekeepers to be able to keep the numbers controlled. What happens when they over-breed and all of a sudden we’ll have far too many?”
A licence to reintroduce sea-eagles toScotlandwas granted to the RSPB and the Scottish National Heritage in 2007.
Since then, over 80 white-tailed chicks have been brought to Scotland from Norway.
The birds were introduced to the East coast of Scotland to re-establish numbers of the species which became extinct over 100 years ago.
And now they can be seen roaming the skies of Perth and Kinross,Fife and the Scottish Borders.
A spokeswoman for the RSPB said that the post-mortem would be carried out next week and that they will access the situation once the cause of death has been confirmed.
“Eagles would only feed on sick or weak lifestock but they could feed on new-born lambs. We’re not sure if it was an attack as the lamb could have been still-born.”
She added that a full consultation took place before the project got the green light in 2007.
“Before they starting arriving, a full consultation went ahead to make sure that enough natural prey would be available for them. “
A spokesperson for the SNH said that the case is being reviewed and until a post-mortem is carried out, the cause of death cannot be determined.
Ron Macdonald, SNH’s head of police and advice, said: “Our staff would like to find out all the facts, and see what measures can be taken to minimise further losses for Mrs Duncan.”