Two seagulls found dead next to ball bearings in Brighton


TWO seagulls have been found dead in a park – with ‘mean people’ accused of attacking the birds with a slingshot.

It comes after multiple incidents involving catapults and ball bearings being used against wildlife in parks around Brighton.

The seagulls were found dead in Queen’s Park in West Drive, Brighton with ball bearings next to them.

The Brighton and Hove Wildlife Advice and Rescue Service said: ‘There are young people out there trying to harm the birds. They usually go there very late at night.

“There are also evil people with catapults and ball bearings lying around Preston Park, Preston Manor and Blakers Park shooting birds, foxes and squirrels.”

Queen’s Park in Brighton. Photo by Barry Walker

The gulls were photographed at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

However, Sussex Police have received no reports of the incident.

Trevor Weeks, founder of the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, said: ‘It seems a shame that the parks which have been given to the public for their enjoyment and relaxation are being abused with the wildlife who use them.

“I feel sorry for anyone who feels the need to wield power and cause another living creature to suffer or take their life in this way.

The Argus: The two dead gulls found in Queen's Park, BrightonThe two dead gulls found in Queen’s Park, Brighton

“It begs the question of what is missing in their lives to make them feel the need to act in this way.

“A person who acts in this way towards animals is also likely to exercise the same aggressive behavior towards humans later in life or in existing relationships they are in.

“Using a ball bearing or air gun to kill a wild bird in a public place like this is illegal and I urge anyone who witnesses such an incident to call the police from Sussex by dialing 999 if she witnesses the incident unfolding or if after such an incident dial 101.

“People can also help by taking a cellphone video of anyone behaving in this way.”

The Argus: The two ball bearings found next to the seagullsThe two ball bearings found next to the seagulls

The East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service has not recently dealt with any incidents in the park.

And Mr Weeks described the images as “unusual” in relation to the rolling found next to the body.

He said similar attacks have seen wild animals with the bearings lodged inside or passed straight by instead of being found next to the body.

He added: “Without having a proper examination of the bird, it would be impossible for me to know if the bird was killed by rolling or some other form of trauma.”

The Argus: Ball bearings found strewn around St Peter's Church in Preston Park last NovemberBall bearings found strewn around St Peter’s Church in Preston Park last November

In December last year, The Argus reported that squirrels were found dead with ball bearings strewn around a church yard in Preston Park, Brighton in November.

Two foxes were also found dead in November at Blakers Park in Brighton, with people suspecting they had been killed by catapults and ball bearings.

One woman told The Argus that members of Facebook groups wanted to “increase the number of dog walks in the area” in the wake of the attacks.

She added: “There is a general feeling of concern in the community and you can definitely feel it.”

The Argus: Herring gulls are on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern (BoCC 4), while nine other gull species are on the Orange List.  Photo by Claire AndrewsHerring gulls are on the Birds of Conservation Concern Red List 4 (BoCC 4), while nine other gull species are on the Orange List. Photo by Claire Andrews

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has encouraged people to call their helpline if they witness anything suspicious.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We are very concerned to hear that gulls in Queen’s Park, Brighton may have been shot and killed with pellets from a slingshot.

“We urge anyone with first-hand information or who may have witnessed this to call our helpline on 0300 1234 999.”

“Gulls, their eggs and nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Intentionally shooting a gull is very likely to be an offense unless done under licence.”

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