The shooting community is hoping that the recent story of raptor predation devastating farmers’ livelihoods in the Scottish Highlands will have the knock-on effect of benefiting gamekeepers.

Fifteen of the birds were released into the wild in Fife, Scotland, last August. Since then, sheep farmers from Gairloch say the predators have been responsible for a substantial rise in attacks on their flocks.

Central to the crofters’ complaint is the fact the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), who reintroduced the birds to the area, are not taking their concerns seriously enough.

However, a spokesman for SNH has said the organisation will investigate the problem in an effort to help the affected farmers.

The shooting community is now hoping this investigation could be beneficial to gamekeepers in the same predicament.

Shooting Times columnist, Alasdair Mitchell, commented: “For too long, parts of the raptor lobby have been able to ignore the views of keepers and others who actually have to live with high densities of raptors. Now, with the botched sea eagle reintroduction arousing protests from what the politicians see as ‘ordinary people’, we might have a better chance of achieving some compromise and common sense.”

The rest of this article appears in 2 October issue of Shooting Times.

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