Cheverton Farm near Shorwell have raised concerns about the release of white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Wight as it is revealed more than 200 lambs have already been killed by birds on the farm this Spring.
Fieldsports Channel have recently visited the farm to interview those on the front line of farming. It is at Cheverton where ravens, crows and other birds have already attacked and killed 200 lambs – some before they are even born. Sadly, the young have their eyes and tongues pecked out by the birds.
In the future, the lambs could be carried off by eagles which boast a wingspan of 2 metres – as seen in recent national press coverage. Natural England say “there is no evidence of this being a problem where the eagles live alongside lowland sheep in Europe”. However, the youngsters being introduced to the Isle of Wight are set to come from the western coast of Scotland.
As previously reported by Island Echo, Natural England and the Roy Dennis Foundation have plans in place to release 60 white-tailed sea eagles on the Island but farmers and gamekeepers have unanimously voted against the release. The eagles are Britain’s largest bird of prey.
Andrew Hodgson, owner of Cheverton Farm, has told Fieldsports Channel:
“At no time have I been contacted by anyone other than the NFU to get my opinion on this. The reason I am concerned about this project is I regard myself as a stakeholder. These eagles are to be released next door to my property and will have an impact on my business and I think that qualifies me as a stakeholder.
“Of the 80+% of the local population that supported it – and I’m not saying my opinion or my vote is worth anymore than theirs – but I do not believe all of those supporters are stakeholders. Their business or their lives will not be affected positively or negatively by this project.
“My personal view is that I’m not against the project but I want to see conditions put in place that, should it cause a problem to our business, there is compensation there. We have been reassured several times that that won’t be required as it won’t have a negative impact on our business”.
Cheverton Farm is one of the largest sheep farms on the Island with a herd of 1,750.
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