Fife coun­cil not rul­ing out cull of area’s gulls

Ser­les of hl-h-sro­file At­tACks o’ seosle By the Bl­rEs hA0e leE to A hArEe’l’- l’ At­tl­tyEes

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - News - JONATHAN WAT­SON jowat­son@the­

“Ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity” is to be in­ves­ti­gated in a bid to pro­tect the pub­lic from ag­gres­sive seagulls.

Ross Vet­traino, Fife Coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment con­vener, said the lo­cal author­ity would not dis­miss the pos­si­bil­ity of a cull fol­low­ing sev­eral re­ports of mem­bers of the pub­lic be­ing at­tacked in Kirk­caldy.

The high-pro­file as­saults have en­raged many, with calls from some for pop­u­la­tion con­trol mea­sures to be im­ple­mented.

“We should not dis­count any­thing,” said Mr Vet­traino.

“We should closely in­ves­ti­gate ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity.

“It is a prob­lem that seems to be get­ting more and more acute.

“It is some­thing that is be­ing re­ported more fre­quently and that could be an in­di­ca­tion that things are get­ting worse.”

While coastal towns through­out Tay­side and Fife are of­ten plagued by ag­gres­sive seagulls, Kirk­caldy is par­tic­u­larly af­fected by the birds.

Town cen­tre BID group Kirk­caldy 4 All is op­er­at­ing a nest and egg re­moval ini­tia­tive to hu­manely con­trol gull num­bers in the area, how­ever, the prob­lem ex­tends be­yond the im­me­di­ate town cen­tre.

Last week, The Courier re­ported on the plight of Mar­garet Cruick­shanks, who was walk­ing her son’s dog in the Hay­field area of the town when she was at­tacked by a seag­ull.

She claims the as­sault prompted her to suf­fer a heart at­tack, from which she is now re­cov­er­ing at home in Glen­rothes.

As a pro­tected species, a mass cull of seagulls can­not take place without spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion, how­ever, Peter Menel­lis, who has pre­vi­ously voiced his con­cerns about the be­hav­iour of the town’s gulls, has called for a cull to be in­sti­gated.

Hav­ing wit­nessed two chil­dren be­ing at­tacked in re­cent months, the 24-yearold said: “Some­thing needs to be done about this prob­lem.

“These birds can’t con­tinue to go about at­tack­ing peo­ple.

“It is sad to say but I think we should be look­ing to cull them.”

Coun­cil co-leader David Alexan­der said on Mon­day that changes in the law would be re­quired to al­low Fife Coun­cil to act, with Kirk­caldy MSP David Tor­rance call­ing on the lo­cal author­ity to look for “last­ing so­lu­tions” to pro­tect the pub­lic.

Mean­while, Mr Menel­lis’ calls have been echoed by David Hen­der­son, chair­man of Kirk­caldy West Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, who was at­tacked by a gull on Mon­day.

Though es­cap­ing without in­jury, he said the sit­u­a­tion was close to spi­ralling out of con­trol.

“I’m not averse to see­ing more ac­tion taken,” he said.

“This is not just a Kirk­caldy prob­lem now, but an east coast is­sue. We need to look at how we can con­trol their num­bers.”

Our re­port on Fife woman Mar­garet Cruick­shanks who said she suf­fered a heart at­tack af­ter a seag­ull at­tack.

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