The species died out in Scotland 100 years ago and has been reintroduced in control numbers released in three phases around the country between 1975 and 2012. Estimates suggest there are now at least 113 pairs, but concerns remain about their impact on sheep farming.

Female-White-web

In Poland there are over 1800 breeding pairs of White-tailed eagles. The WTE main diet 99% is carp

Now trials are underway to find new ways to protect livestock in key areas.

(The above statement is interesting, because the white-tailed eagle is known to travel over 30 km from their nest to hunt for fish, so a lot of potential nesting trees may have to be felled to prevent breeding close to lambing sites to make any difference? Raptor Politics words)

If successful, these methods could be rolled out as part of efforts to protect livestock at sites where the species has been proven to attack herds. A small number of farms in west coast location are working with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and partners on the project, which focuses on sites where standard measures like extra shepherding have failed.

white-tailed eagle (1 of 1)

Concerns about the impact on farming were cited by critics of the reintroduction scheme in previous years.

Meanwhile, the sea eagle population is expected to grow to around 221 pairs within less than ten years, potentially increasing again to a “much larger” number by 2040 as it moves into new territories, according to SNH.

Commenting on the latest development, Andrew Bauer of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland said fears about predation had been borne out by experience.

He stated: “NFU Scotland welcomes the continued commitment of SNH and other organisations to find ways to reduce the risk of sea eagle predation of lambs and sheep.

“Farmers and crofters affected by sea eagles will be hoping the trial is a success, but can be reassured that regardless of the outcome, their plight is recognised and work to remedy it will continue.”

Ross Lilley, SNH sea eagle project manager, said: “We’re working closely with farmers and crofters, National Farmers Union Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Forest Enterprise Scotland and others to thoroughly understand the part sea eagles play in livestock losses.

White-tailed Eagle flying (1 of 1)

“The trial is about finding a balance between livestock farming and wildlife and recognising the benefits that each brings to us all.

“This is a great example of working together to tackle issues faced by farmers and crofters whilst ensuring healthy populations of this spectacular species.”

Food cache

Seasonal food cache in Poland to help the White-tailed eagle find sufficient alternate food during the winter when the lakes and rivers are frozen.