Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 14:10 UK

Growing call for action on eagles

Sea eagle
Sea eagles are being blamed for preying on lambs

Growing numbers of crofters and farmers are calling for action amid claims sea eagles have been preying on lambs.

More than 200 crofters from Wester Ross met conservationists in a meeting in Poolewe on Monday night.

Meanwhile, Skye crofter John Angus MacCusbic said he would prefer that the raptors were removed, but conceded that was unlikely to happen.

The re-introduction of the large birds to Scotland has been considered a conservation success story.

'Very slim'

The biggest UK bird of prey, it was driven to extinction during the early 19th Century through illegal killing.

Crofters said sea eagles have been preying on lambs and seriously threaten their stock and livelihoods.

Opposing views from a crofter and RSPB officer

Mr MacCusbic said: "For us on the west coast of Scotland it is a huge problem.

"A lot of crofters around here have seen them working at the lambs."

He added: "We would like to see the sea eagles removed from our ground.

"The likelihood of this is very slim, nevertheless we can't let this continue because it is affecting our livelihoods."

Following Monday's gathering, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and RSPB Scotland said another meeting would be arranged to further look at the issue.

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