Seagull dies after being 'repeatedly kicked' by man when it knocked ice cream from child's hand

The seagull died within 24 hours of being repeatedly kicked Credit: BPM Media

A seagull has died after it was repeatedly kicked by a man for knocking an ice cream out of his child's hand in Cornwall, according to a rescue centre.

Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital said the bird was struggling to stand or hold its head up when it arrived at the centre. The bird died 24 hours after the incident.

The centre's staff said the gull was "perfectly healthy" before the incident and would likely have had chicks which are now down a parent.

A spokesperson said: "We were shocked and saddened to have admitted what was a perfectly healthy adult herring gull after it was kicked repeatedly by a member of the public for knocking an ice cream from the hands of a child in Mousehole Harbour.

"We can empathise with the disappointment caused, however, violence towards wildlife is never the answer."

Herring gulls, like all wild birds in the UK, are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and as such it is an offence to intentionally injure or kill them.

"We are aware that many people despise gulls due to their tendency to foraging for food in our town and cities but what many do not realise is their move from their natural cliff habitat to our homes is due to overfishing and loss of habitat caused by development – all man-made issues.

"In the UK, herring gulls are listed as a species of conservation priority and have been on the red list since 2015 owing to population declines of over 50% in the last 25 years. They may seem abundant but as they decline in their natural habitat and move into ours, they simply appear more common as we see them more frequently."They are just making the best of the poor situation they find themselves in. A simple way of avoiding conflict is to remain aware of gulls in the area when consuming food; especially for vulnerable people like children – there is good evidence that eye contact will reduce food steeling occurrences. Please, please respect our local wildlife."