Sheep battling against giant hogweed in Aberdeenshire

media captionA new project is using sheep to tackle giant hogweed growing out of control along the River Deveron in Aberdeenshire

Sheep are being tested as a new weapon in the battle against giant hogweed in Aberdeenshire, BBC Scotland has learned.

The harmful plant spreads at aggressive rates and its sap can cause painful burns on the skin and even lead to blindness.

Now a pilot project in an area beside the Deveron River is being funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), as an alternative to chemical spraying.

Blackface sheep are being used.

Their dark pigmentation gives them protection from the toxic plant.

If successful, it is hoped the animals can be used more widely in the war against giant hogweed.

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