Police to shoot seagulls to save whales

2012-08-29 07:30
A seagull pecks at a whale in the southern Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Piramides, Argentina. (Daniel Feldman, AP)

A seagull pecks at a whale in the southern Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Piramides, Argentina. (Daniel Feldman, AP)

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Buenos Aires - Saving whales is something Argentines take very seriously - so much so that they're planning to shoot seagulls to stop them from pecking at the huge marine mammals.

Gulls have become a real hazard for Southern right whales in one of their prime birthing grounds in Argentina, a protected gulf off the Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn.

Biologist Marcelo Bertellotti said seagulls are booming in number and have begun attacking whales as they surface for air, pecking and tearing at their flesh to eat their skin and blubber.

Whales bring tourists and tourists bring money, so provincial authorities are planning to have police shoot the gulls.

Environmentalists are crying foul, saying officials should instead close a nearby garbage dump and stop fishermen from dumping scraps to reduce the gulls' numbers.

Read more on:    marine life

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