Reports from St Andrews in Scotland suggest that two gulls, protected by law due to their endangered status, may have been killed by a pest control company with the permission of Scottish Natural Heritage, the same organisation that recently caused outrage when they proposed a cull of hundreds of ravens, much to the alarm of conservationists and the general public.
According to St Andrews University student newspaper The Saint, the gulls had taken up residence close to the bicycle stands near the university library and were a familiar sight to those using the library - but complaints were received from a few people who claimed to have been 'attacked' by the birds.
Regular readers will know that I question accounts of gull attacks and consider that, more often than not, they are a result of human misunderstanding and intolerance of these incredible birds.
So anyway, after the university had apparently exhausted all other methods of persuading the gulls to leave, Scottish Natural Heritage gave the go ahead to proceed with the gulls' removal due to the dramatic (some might say over-dramatic) nature of the reported incidents.
Though it has not been confirmed, it is believed that the gulls were in fact exterminated by a pest control company acting under authority from SNH.
As a protected species, gulls can only be culled in exceptional circumstances where there is "a significant risk to public health or safety".
Personally I doubt very much that the two gulls at St Andrews posed such a risk and I imagine that their (assumed) demise is a result of the usual hysteria that the presence of these wonderfully resourceful birds often provokes from overly sensitive humans and those ignorant of the birds' natural behaviour.
Scottish Natural Heritage claim that part of their mission is to promote and care for the country's wildlife but frankly if they are intent on killing it then there won't be quite as much wildlife left in Scotland for them to 'care for'......
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