GRAPHIC VIDEO: CONCERNS RAISED BY CHEVERTON FARM OVER RELEASE OF WHITE-TAILED EAGLES

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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.

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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”.

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Cheverton Farm is one of the largest sheep farms on the Island with a herd of 1,750.

Warning: this video contains scenes which some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Frank Hitchcock

Wow I never knew the crows caused so many problems! Watch the video it is very educational. I wonder what help could be given for the lambs? Public patrols ?

Joe Bloggs

An utterly ridiculous idea. Why Natural England would even consider the Island as a suitable place to release these large birds into the wild I do not understand. Unfortuneately the Island is too populated for these animals to co-exist with us without causing problems for themselves and us.

Alison.

Unfortunately a % of lambs are stillborn, twin lamb disease among others. Mis positioned lambs get stuck and suffocate. Unfortunately the farmers don’t mention that side of lamb deaths. Building a marquee top with netting sides as a shelter for lambing ewes and up to 24 hrs after solves the crow issues. If these shareholder’s would build a marquee top, net sides for ewes about the lamb and 24 hour hour shelter after it would solve the issue. Many farmers in Scotland and Cumbria use this method.

JHVF

These are the same sort of ‘nature do gooders’ who have released wild boar into the Forest of Dean, that are causing considerable trouble, and talking about re-introducing wolves to Scotland. Don’t be silly

Paul O'Rourke

If you think this is bad, wait till Chris Packham releases the velociraptors.

local boy

Loss of lambs is primarily down to poor husbandry as already mentioned. The Institute for Terrestrial Ecology studied sea eagle diet in Scotland and could not conclusively prove that eagles took live lambs. But took advantage of lambs still born or died from exposure on the hill. In 1998 a MAFF report estimated GB farmers lose c4million lambs of the 16million born 5% for misadventure less 2%of 4million was caused by predation (foxes crows dogs). Whilst this might affect certain farmers more than others it is still avery small number compared with those that die of natural causes. In Norway… Read more »

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