By WMNKRossiter | Posted: May 23, 2016
By Keith Rossiter
Farmers should be allowed to leave animal carcasses out in the fields to ensure that a rare vulture spotted in the Westcountry does not starve to death, a conservationist says.
As reported in the WMN last week, a lammergeier was filmed over the Severn eastuary near Bristol, and later spotted near the Venford reservoir on Dartmoor in Devon.
There were numerous reports of sightings over Dartmoor today.
"This is an amazing thing to have happened," conservationist Derek Gow said.
Watch the vulture in flight
"There are very few records of vultures coming to Britain in the past."
He said lammergeiers were found in mountainous regions such as the Pyrenees and the Alps.
In Spain, farmers have a dispensation to dispose of animal carcasses in an area frequented by lammergeiers.
"Britain is too sterile," Mr Gow said. "Farmers aren't allowed to leave dead livestock out in the fields.
"Birds like vultures and red kites are really going to struggle for food here.
"In this landscape you will find the occasional dead sheep, but you are just not going to find the numbers needed.
"Leaving carcasses out isn't something that can't be done under EU law.
"Defra needs to make it possible for farmers."
Mr Gow said that although the lammergeier could have escaped from a collection somewhere in Britain, it was more likely to be a juvenile from a wild population in the Alps or Pyrenees which was looking for new territory.