Litter Free Dorset launch ‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ campaign

LITTER Free Dorset’s ‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ campaign is back this summer.

The Litter Free Dorset team are working with town councils and local takeaway businesses to spread the ‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ message to discourage intentional and accidental feeding of seagulls.

Don’t Feed the Locals’ is a positive, humorous engaging directly with communities and visitors to reduce litter and antisocial behaviour by seagulls, improving the seaside and town centre environment for everyone.

Litter Free Dorset are calling on locals and visitors to:

  • Never leave food unattended
  • Bin any unwanted food
  • And if the bins are full, to please take all rubbish home.

Sophie Colley, Litter Free Dorset’s coordinator said: “It’s really important we do not feed seagulls as encouraging this bad behaviour can lead to them relying on scraps from humans.

“This can result in greedy gulls pulling rubbish out of bins, scattering litter everywhere, to find scraps or stealing straight from our hands or laps.

“No one wants their alfresco dinner ruined by some aggressive gulls!

“Litter Free Dorset are working with town council’s to display banners along seafronts and in carparks while calling on takeaway businesses to display campaign artwork (window stickers and posters) to spread the ‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ message with customers.

“There are already 60 businesses across Dorset displaying ‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ stickers/posters and encouraging their customers to bin their rubbish or take it home with them.

“If the bins are full please hold onto your rubbish to dispose of at home. Seagulls are clever and will pull rubbish out of overflowing bins and tear apart bags of rubbish placed next to / on top of bins, scattering litter everywhere while on the hunt for tasty treats.

“Once littered, this rubbish can be easily blown or washed into our watercourses and out to sea.”

This is not an anti-seagull campaign. Feeding seagulls human food is very bad for their health.

These foods are low in nutritional value for the gulls and contain a high calorie content which differs from their nature foods. This can result in malnutrition and long-term health problems for the gulls.

Instead, by not feeding seagulls human food, we will be encouraging them to hunt natural food sources for themselves.

Ria Loveridge, mitigation co-ordinator at the Bird and Recreation Initiative (BARI) said: “This campaign isn’t just about litter on our streets, it’s also an important message about the health of our most iconic seaside birds. Just like humans, gulls get addicted to junk food, either from us directly feeding it to them or from them litter picking bins when food isn’t disposed of well enough.

“This junk food diet is proving devastating for their gut health and although it may seem like there are loads of gulls around, the herring gull has actually been on the RSPB Red list since 2009 due to declining populations!

“Gulls are the sound of the British seaside and need our protection so BARI says please don’t feed the locals!”

For more information about the ‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ campaign, head to Litter Free Dorset’s website www.litterfreedorset.co.uk

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