Cádiz in Spain has pledged to remove 5,000 pigeons after local hotel owners claimed they were “menacing” tourists and putting people off visiting.
Horeca, a federation of hoteliers in the Spanish city, first brought up the issue two years ago, highlighting in particular that Cathedral Square, a popular tourist destination, was rife with the birds.
“It has become intolerable. We reckon that we have lost 20 per cent of our business to pigeons,” Antonio De María Ceballos, a restaurant owner and president of Horeca, told the newspaper La Voz de Cádiz.
He said pigeons had “turned the city centre into their own private habitat, leaving excrement on the ground, building façades, restaurant and café terraces and their customers,” adding “When the pigeon gets hungry, it can get very forceful and often doesn’t even wait for the tourists to leave their table to go for their food.”
The complaints led Cádiz’s council to commission a pigeon census – they decided the population of 8,000 was three to four times too many for the city to sustain.
However, rather than culling the birds the council will relocate them.
Some 5,000 birds will be trapped, given health checks and released near the town of Riba-Roja de Túria, 13 miles from Valencia and 375 miles from Cádiz, with the next year.
Local council officials called it a “more respectful and sustainable” solution.
“Managing the population of existing pigeons does not imply the eradication of them within the urban area,“ councillor Álvaro de la Fuente told local newspaper Diario de Cádiz.
In order to stop more pigeons flocking to the city, the council is also distributing 3,000 leaflets urging people to stop feeding the birds. Álvaro de la Fuente said he’d rather not resort to fining residents for “overindulging” the pigeons.
Although pigeons are often known for their homing instincts, untrained, wild birds are usually happy to settle in one locality; it’s believed Cádiz’s rock pigeon population will remain in their new home rather than attempting to return to the city.
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