@fitheach Reminds me of this island in Croatia I visited some time ago. It's a protected habitat for Griffon vultures. They buy up old sheep from farmers who would otherwise put them down. The sheep get dropped off on the island and get to roam free until they die a natural death (or fall down a ravine, which I guess is kinda natural if you're a sheep).
Since the vultures only eat dead animals, the sheep then become food for them. Lots of picked clean sheep bones there.
Something similar will have happened in this case. No vultures here, but, many other birds (Hooded Crows, for example) and animals (including insects) perform a similar function.
Actually, now that I think about it, there is a whole discussion to be had about carrion, ravens (fitheach = raven), and crows.
The dead on Scottish battlefields were a readily available source of food for the corvids.
I might introduce the topic by quoting from the gruesome poem "The Twa Corbies", which was made famous by Walter Scott.
@fitheach read this yesterday https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/13/the-knacker-the-toughest-job-in-british-farming and was an eye opener. Reason I post it is the sentences about how prone sheep are to calamities.
The photo, I posted, was of a feral sheep. There are about half-a-dozen such sheep in the forest where I frequently go walking. These sheep are much more likely to have accidents because they inhabit some rough territory. The one photographed probably succumbed to old age or disease.
My most memorable Christmas day was spent rescuing 12 ewes who fell down a river ravine & were stranded on a rapidly declining island, due to rising waters. We used climbing ropes to get them.
I used to do quite a bit of volunteer wardening for the RSPB and I remember one reserve where we had to do a regular round to catch any sheep that had got into the dykes around the reserve. They'd walk in at a low spot and go forward where the sides were too steep to climb out. They wouldn't realise they could simply walk back to get out and would drown when they got too tired to hold their heads up. Tragic.
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