Laser beams could be used in UK to protect sheep from eagles
Laser beams could be shone on to Highland hillsides in a bid to protect flocks of sheep from Britain’s biggest bird of prey.
The technology is to be trialled in Argyll in an area where crofters and farmers have repeatedly complained that Scotland’s white-tailed sea eagles are taking their livestock.
The unusual move will be tried along with other measures, including cutting down trees close to one lambing area in a bid to stop the huge raptors nesting in them and preying on lambs.
The conservation agency Scottish Natural Heritage said the trials would be "carefully monitored”, with lasers being shone on to the hills and not directly at birds.
David Colthart, a farmer and member of the Argyll and Lochaber Sea Eagle Stakeholder Group, said not all sea eagles were a problem but some did prey on lambs.
He added that if the laser trial was successful it could be rolled out under licence to other areas where the birds were causing problems.
Farmers and crofters in areas including the Isle of Skye and the Gairloch peninsula have complained of the birds killing lambs and larger ewe hoggs (sheep up to 18 months old).
Last May, a photograph emerged of a sea eagle carrying a new born lamb in its talons as it flew over the village of North Connel in Argyll.