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The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has spoken out about managing seagulls, with numerous complaints being made about the birds' aggressive behaviour in Brighton.
A spokesperson for the animal charity said: "If we feed gulls they will grow more confident, they will learn that we are a source of food. They will not then distinguish between food offered and people simply walking around carrying food, cafe tables outdoors and the like."
Brighton and Hove City Council have already said that culling the birds, which are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, might not be an option.
It is working on ensuring food waste is properly disposed of to avoid attracting the birds to control the population.
In a statement, the council said: "Nuisance alone is not considered to be a reasonable justification for culling."
Despite the population of the birds declining in coastal areas, they are continuing to "do well" in urban areas, according to the RSPB.
The charity said: "Councils who have identified gulls as a nuisance would be right not to encourage feeding. And, to be honest, a diet entirely of chips and ice cream probably isn't giving the birds their five a day!"
A seagull cull in Brighton and Hove may not be an option for controlling the large numbers in the city. That's according to the council which receives numerous reports about the birds. Seagulls are frequently criticised for swooping down to take food, and have gained a reputation for aggravating people. The local authority is trying to stop them nesting.
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