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’’.