One of the new measures included in the revised Sea Eagle Management Scheme is enhanced shepherding. This measure was developed following on from monitor farm trials and initial shepherding work carried out at a Skye sheep stock club in 2019, which recorded sea eagle activity on the hill and possible signs of predation.
Experience with observers on monitor farms has shown that additional presence on the hill, can in some cases, act as a visible deterrent to sea eagle interaction with livestock. Previously options in the SEMS for those managing extensive hill flocks have been limited and this measure was developed specifically with these areas in mind.
In 2020, NatureScot supported four farms in Argyll and three sheep stock clubs in Skye with this measure as an initial trial. Shepherds delivering this work are asked to record data on a range of variables, with the information collected helping inform future management to try and address issues.
There is a summary report on this collaborative work in 2020.
The trial in 2020 had mixed results but feedback on the measure itself was generally positive.
Yvonne White, SCF Director and Clerk of Kingsburgh SSC who participated in the initial trial said:
“The enhanced shepherding was very useful and had wider benefits including helping stimulate discussion about the use of different flock management strategies and consideration of the aims and objectives for the flock going forward. The support helped the Sheep Stock Club employ a part time shepherd and having an experienced, enthusiastic, young person take on this responsibility has made a significant difference.”
In 2021, NatureScot are expanding on this initial trial and are offering support to nine holdings across Argyll and Skye with this measure. This page will be kept up to date with reports on this collaborative project, which is not only helping build our shared understanding of this complex issue, but helping to support seasonal rural employment.
A Q&A document has been prepared for those who are experiencing issues with sea eagle predation on more extensive areas and are interested in finding out more about this measure.
This measure is an example of our Shared Approach to Wildlife Management
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