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Last Updated: Wednesday September 24 2008 06:42 GMT

Sea eagles blamed for lamb deaths

A sea eagle

Farmers in Scotland have claimed sea eagles have been killing their lambs.

Fifteen more of the huge birds of prey were released into the wild in August, after the species were almost hunted to extinction in Fife.

The farmers say that since the large birds have been flying free, they've killed more than 200 lambs.

The RSPB bird charity has promised to look into every case, but says it doesn't think the birds are responsible for all the deaths.

Sea eagles have been known to take lambs in the past, but the farmers say this year's death toll is much worse.

The birds are known as 'flying barn doors' because they grow to be so huge, but the birds released in August were still tagged so experts could keep track of them.

A golden eagle
They were collected as chicks from nests in Norway and raised in special aviaries before their release.

It's the second year sea eagles have been released into the wild, and the plan was to release 20 more each year for the next three years.

But farmers want something to be done to protect their lambs before more birds are released.