In my experience Nature Scot have done nothing to mitigate the impact of sea eagles on sheep flocks on the Island of Raasay. They roll out the same dialogue whenever the damage done by sea eagles is highlighted but the truth is they don't know what to do.

There is a nest north of our common grazings which results in the area nearest to the nest returning only 50% at marking. The evidence was there at shearing with the number of sheep that had lost lambs.

NatureScot were aware of the nest.

That part of our flock has seen the breeding ewe numbers drop from 220 before the sea eagles, to 140 at June this year.

We don't have enough ewe lambs to replace the cast ewes so the ewe numbers will further decrease.

What work has the NSESP done for us?

I've attended meetings with most of the panel in attendance and have not heard anything to make me feel optimistic about the future of extensive hill flocks.

Sheep play a hugely important role in a hill situation where treated at appropriate times of the year break the cycle of ticks and lessen the burden on other animals and the human population where Lyme disease is on the increase.

We have lost our mountain hare population on Raasay to the sea eagle so who is going to be held responsible for that wildlife crime.

Those that released sea eagles should be subject to the same laws as the people who allow dogs to attack sheep. The numbers of lambs and sheep killed by sea eagles is considerably higher than those killed by dogs so why is that acceptable?

This crime has been evident since the first release of sea eagles so how does it stop?

John W Gillies


North Raasay sheep stock club.