Seagulls terrorise British holidaymakers

Belgium seaside town to tackle aggressive seagulls by giving them contraceptive pill

Local authority to start doping birds' food as population booms

Daniel Sheridan
Sunday 22 April 2018 17:12
comments

A Belgian seaside town has announced it will put its resident seagulls on birth control by doping their food.

If the trial is successful, seaside towns along the Yorkshire coast could consider adopting the method.

In the Belgian resort of Blankenberge, the contraceptive pills will be concealed in food deliberately left out for the scavengers.

Fake eggs will also be used to fool broody birds and drones will be deployed to find rogue nests.

EU laws prevent the culling of seagulls which has caused councils to consider alternative methods of reducing their booming population.

Seagulls are known to become more aggressive in their hunt for food once they have chicks and it is believed they may be calmer if they do not have to provide for their young.

Seagulls are known to be more aggressive when they need to provide food for their young

Current anti-gull policies in Scarborough and Whitby include hiring hawks to scare the birds and removing eggs from their nests to control the population.

At present, there are no oral contraceptives available in the UK that are licensed for use with seagulls or any other birds, but Belgium’s radical tactics may lead to a change if successful.

It is the first time the pill will have been tried on gulls in Europe, although similar methods have already been used on pigeons in tourist centres Barcelona and Venice.

The council representing Scarborough and Whitby has announced their "destruction and dispersal" measures for gulls ahead of the 2018 summer season.

The birds have been accused of dive-bombing visitors to "mug" them for food, and also create noise, mess and noxious smells.

The council now plans to work with NBC Environment and the RSPB to develop a programme of educational visits to schools later in the year as part of a longer-term strategy to educate the area’s younger generation.

Signs were erected around the harbour last year, urging visitors not to feed the gulls, while several chip shops also print packaging carrying similar messages.

A Scarborough council spokesperson stressed that the use of contraceptive pills on gulls is "not connected" to the measures they have in place this summer.

SWNS

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments