LETTER: Why single out the seagull?

seagullFIRSTLY, I would like to congratulate LymeOnline for being the brightest, most cheerful local paper that I have ever come across (I am, in fact, 86 years of age, so that is a lot of local papers!).

I moved to Charmouth over 23 years ago and, in all that time, I have never read such an optimistic and pleasant letter, submitted to any paper, as that of Guy Ottewell’s of Broad Street, another local like myself (LymeOnline, September 27).

I agree with every word expressed by him regarding the “sound of the seaside”, i.e. the sight and sound of my neighbours, the seagulls and “a pox” (so what, it was good enough for William Shakespeare) on those who continuously express a desire to have them all killed.

Do people know that is what ‘culling’ means? It is not saying “shoo” very loudly!

There is not an animal on this planet, wild or tame, that will not take the opportunity to eat an unguarded tit-bit when it appears to the animal that it is on offer and I am continuously upset that the seagull is singled out.

People, of all ages, seem to think that waving a chip, a piece of fish, a hamburger bun, a sandwich, an ice cream or any other item of tempting food around, is going to be ignored by any animal in close proximity.

On the coast that is inevitably going to be a seagull. They’re lucky it’s not a wolf, a bear, etc, otherwise they would lose more than their food.

I do, however, agree with the council notices, aimed at holidaymakers to avoid feeding the gulls, which is exactly what they are doing.

Two years ago, I ‘fostered’ a very young gull who had obviously fallen out of its nest but had no idea where that was. I fed it with tuna (it wouldn’t eat anything else, although caviar did cross my mind) until it could fly after very many attempts leaping off of a 12″ high wall.

It now, of course, thinks that I am its mum and visits me every summer’s day (I can’t believe that it is only coming for food).

About four years ago, a one-legged adult seagull used to come and visit, being hand-fed and sitting at my feet sleeping. I haven’t seen it for some time so perhaps it went to sleep at someone else’s feet and it’s been ‘culled’.

Derek Jeffries (animal lover),

Woodmead Halls

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