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article imageSwedish city toilet training seagulls to ease human-bird conflict

By Stephanie Dearing     Jul 10, 2010 in Environment
Karlstad - Located between Oslo and Stockholm Karlstad is also called "the city of the sun." With a university, the city offers visitors many cultural activities as well as swimming, hiking and boating.
Out-of-town guests have no issues with Karlstad's seagulls, but city residents who own boats have a bone to pick. The birds, you see, fly about where they will, defecating from the air. This normal bird bodily function has really started to bug boaters who dock their crafts at the local marina.
The Local broke the exclusive story Thursday, saying the mounting frustration of yacht owners had prompted the municipality to attempt to toilet train the gulls in order to achieve a working compromise between man and bird.
The Local reported that a special jetty has already been constructed and will be towed to what officials believe will be an optimum location on Lake Vänern. The hope is that seagulls will be attracted to the jetty, and will hang-out there -- and, of course, take care of their business at the jetty as well.
Jens Gustafsson, a municipal employee told The Local, "We have a growing problem with the gulls and boat-owners have tired of having their property soiled. They have quite a lot of money invested there. We have tried the normal measures, like scarecrows and such like, but the birds get used to it and carry on as normal."
Gustafsson noted the birds "... like to sit and enjoy the view," which has led the municipality to think the birds might take to the idea of staying on the specially designed jetty.
Other solutions that could be considered by Karlstad Municipality and Swedish yacht owners include cleaning companies and changing the colour of the boats.
Informal research in the United Kingdom in 2005 led to the conclusion that sea gulls prefer to defecate on white coloured cars, reported Metro.
There is at least one company in the United Kingdom that specializes in cleaning up seagull excrement.
While the problem might appear to be incidental to most people, seagull droppings are acidic. Aside from the potential damage the droppings can cause to buildings, statuary and vehicles, there have been other problems with gulls reported. This is Bristol reported a problem of gulls attacking humans last year.
Lake Vänern is Europe's third-largest lake.
More about Karlstad, Seagulls, Gull jetty, Boats, Marina
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