Maimed gull ‘wounded sol­dier’


A Porirua tip-goer claims seag­ulls were left like ‘‘wounded sol­ders’’ af­ter pos­si­bly be­ing shot by a contractor.

Ti­tahi Bay res­i­dent Ja­nine Askew was shocked to see a big blood-splat­tered black-backed gull stum­bling around Spicer Land­fill last month.

She be­lieved the gull was prob­a­bly maimed by a con­tracted shooter, called in to cull the birds, and stop them fly­ing off with un­healthy rub­bish.

Busi­ness own­ers have pre­vi­ously com­plained of an­i­mal parts, bones and con­doms col­lect­ing on roofs be­tween the land­fill and the har­bour.

Askew said the gull she saw was ‘‘like a wounded sol­dier run­ning in front of the car’’.

‘‘It couldn’t go any­where. It had blood splat­tered all over it.

‘‘It was just re­ally heart­break­ing to see be­cause they can’t just just rock up to a doc­tor and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a bro­ken wing’.’’

She said she had seen seag­ulls with bro­ken wings or miss­ing feet in the past.

Porirua City Coun­cil solid waste man­ager Peter Keller said staff used a boom­ing gas can­non daily to try to scare birds off the mounds of rub­bish.

‘‘This works well, but even­tu­ally the birds get used to it so a cou­ple of times a month the land­fill op­er­a­tor shoots a few so that the gulls as­so­ciate the noise with dan­ger.

‘‘We aim to kill the birds hu­manely by shoot­ing care­fully, as it is al­ways up­set­ting see­ing wounded birds suf­fer­ing. We only shoot black-back gulls, not the pro­tected species – grey gulls.’’

A spokeswoman from En­viro NZ, which op­er­ates the land­fill on be­half of the coun­cil, said if the gas can­non was to be used by it­self the birds would be­come sen­si­tised, and it would start to have no or lit­tle ef­fect.

‘‘A mix of gas can­non, gen­eral shoot­ing with blanks, and tar­get­ing in­di­vid­ual birds with steel shot is the best out­come. An ex­pe­ri­enced li­censed shooter is en­gaged to carry out this work on an as-needs ba­sis.’’

An SPCA spokesman said any bird that was in­jured and not killed should be hu­manely de­stroyed with­out de­lay.

Spicer land­fill con­tracts marks­men to shoot gulls ‘‘a cou­ple of times a month’’.

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