How to live in har­mony with gulls

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COUNTRYFILE -

A CAM­PAIGN to en­cour­age peo­ple to live in har­mony with gulls has been launched by the RSPCA in the south­east fol­low­ing a num­ber of in­ci­dents where gulls have been shot with air ri­fles. So far this year the RSPCA has re­ceived 494 calls in the re­gion about gulls and this is set to in­crease over the sum­mer months. RSPCA South East act­ing re­gional su­per­in­ten­dent Der­mot Mur­phy said: “Our in­spec­tors have had to put to sleep gulls that have been too badly in­jured by air­guns to save, but some of th­ese birds are not found and will be left maimed and in agony by those peo­ple who are shoot­ing at them.” Gulls are pro­tected un­der the Wildlife and Coun­try­side Act of 1981 - though li­cences are is­sued al­low­ing landown­ers or oc­cu­piers to kill cer­tain species for spe­cific pur­poses. Nests and eggs can be de­stroyed un­der li­cence. But even in th­ese cir­cum­stances it is il­le­gal to do any­thing that will cause suf­fer­ing to gulls. The RSPCA urges peo­ple to dis­pose of ed­i­ble lit­ter care­fully and put it in gull­proof lit­ter bins. Gulls that swoop sud­denly on peo­ple or pets are usu­ally try­ing to pro­tect chicks that have got out of the nest. If you see a gull chick leave it alone. Gulls make most noise be­tween May and July when they are breed­ing. If gulls on your roof dis­turb you, or you are wor­ried they may block a gas flue, you can pre­vent them nest­ing there in the first place. The en­vi­ron­men­tal health de­part­ment or a pest con­trol com­pany can tell you about the de­vices avail­able.

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