VETS at a wildlife centre have had to treat at least a dozen injured gulls with gunshot wounds in recent weeks.
Mallydams in Fairlight took in five birds last Wednesday (July 17), three of which were gull chicks left orphaned after both their parents were shot.
Three of the injured birds had shot wounds - two in their wings and one with a pellet in its chest. Two were thought to be the parents of two chicks left uncared for in a nearby nest.
A vet examined the birds at Mallydams, but the shot gulls were too injured to survive. Their babies have been taken into care and will be hand-reared by staff.
Nikki Lambert, wildlife assistant and vet nurse, said: “The little things are doing well but are too young to fend for themselves, so need to be fed up and cared for by us for a while. I only wish whoever is responsible for this pointless callous act could be made to understand the repercussions of what they do. It was not just that they killed an animal but destroyed a whole gull family.”
Despite the RSPCA issuing a reminder to be tolerant of gulls, 14 injured birds have been brought into Mallydams in the last few weeks.
Two days after the baby gulls were found in Kent last Wednesday, two adults were brought in from Priory Road with fractured wings and pellets in the abdomens and chest. A similarly shot bird had been found in the same road two weeks before on June 28.
On July 12 another gull was brought in from Hastings seafront with two pellets in its abdomen. The week before that another seven gulls were taken to the centre from nearby Camber, all of whom had been shot.
Adam Grogan, senior scientist for the RSPCA, said: “Far too many gulls are being killed as a result of these deliberate and utterly pointless acts of cruelty. Many of the gulls are not killed outright but suffer long lingering deaths from the wounds caused by the airguns they are shot with.
“We urge people to be tolerant of the wildlife around them and remember that it is not only unacceptable but against the law to purposefully cause any animal or bird to suffer in this way. We believe that deterrents are the way to reduce problems, along with not feeding the gulls and disposing of rubbish properly.”
Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is illegal to intentionally do anything which causes suffering to wild birds and action can only be taken against them under licence. If you find an injured gull, or have any information of a gull being treated cruelly, call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.