SGA CALLS FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO SEA EAGLES IMPACT
The sea eagle attack on a Perthshire poultry keeper and fears of further aggression from the huge birds has prompted the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) to call for a public inquiry into the impact of reintroduced species.
In a letter to the Scottish Government's Environment Minister Stuart Stevenson, the SGA warned that the attack on the Rev Hunter Farquharson in Abernethy may well be the first of many and asked for the formulation of an "exit strategy" if the sea eagles turn out to have an adverse effect on social, economic or leisure activities.
The letter stated: "These creatures are being released into what is a comparatively densely populated area so they will come into contact with humans on a daily basis. That will instil habituated behaviour and remove what should be a healthy fear of humans. There are reports of buzzards which have obviously undergone this desensitisation and this has resulted in them attacking people. This could pose a serious threat in the future.
"Will these very large creatures differentiate between a small child and more natural quarry?"
SGA committee member Bert Burnett went on to ask the Minister if there was a long term strategy which covered the inevitable increases in the sea eagle population once they start to breed in the wild.
"Is Government intending to compensate all those who lose stock or suffer other financial losses through the behaviour of these birds?" Mr Burnett asked. "At the moment some raptors have exclusion zones round their nest sites encompassing several acres in an effort to reduce disturbance. Presumably sea eagles will also require these zones so how will that affect farming or recreational activities and will there be compensation for this?"