A woman with a passion for saving seagulls has pledged to continue her work, even after receiving complaints and a warning from the council.
April Lock, from Barmouth, has nursed approximately 100 baby birds back to health in the last four years, since she was made aware of the large number killed in her local community.
She has built several large pens in her garden to house the injured gulls before releasing them back into the wild – but it’s sparking controversy, North Wales Live reports.
April said: “When I noticed how many seagull chicks were abandoned and being squashed on the road, I spoke to different sanctuaries and vets but it didn’t seem like anyone could help them.
“So I took things into my own hands and decided to rescue them.
“I don’t think a lot of people realise that if you give the birds to the RSPCA or the vets, then they’re usually euthanised, even if they’re completely healthy.
“I know some people don’t like animals but I’m just trying to do something good for the animals and the locals as well.”
April says her local community largely support her work, which is why she was surprised to receive a letter from Gwynedd Council earlier this month.
She posted a picture of the letter on social media, writing: “Sometimes you can’t do right from wrong.
“All I have done is tried to help these animals and someone has complained to the council about me, ridiculous. #iwontstophelpingthem.”
A spokesperson for Gwynedd Council explained they don’t have an official policy but residents feeding seagulls regularly on their properties may be subject to a letter or visit from Public Protection Officers.
They said: “Availability of food sources is the reasons why so many seagulls now populate our coastal towns and villages.
“Gwynedd Council regularly campaigns to raise awareness of the problem – and to stress the importance of ensuring that people do not feed the seagulls.”
Though a warning isn’t enough to stop determined April, who will do whatever she can to prevent the unnecessary deaths of seagull chicks.
She added: “The letter from the council is the first complaint that I’ve had but I’m not hurting anyone and I’ve had loads of positive feedback from people locally.
“Some of the birds come to me when they’re tiny, just a ball of fluff in the palm of my hand.
“Some of them I hand fed with the syringe and got up every two to three hours during the night to feed them.
“So now it’s so rewarding when you see them flying away because I know without my helping hand that they probably wouldn’t have made it.”
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “During the avian flu outbreak, our animal rescuers continue to help wild birds and have been reuniting juvenile gulls with their parents, and releasing trapped, uninjured birds back to the wild.
“Due to the severity of the bird flu outbreak which is now killing seabirds at an alarming rate, we have made the extremely difficult decision to close our doors to new seabird admissions, such as gulls, auks, terns, cormorants, shearwaters, gannets, fulmars.
“This is to protect our other wildlife currently undergoing rehab, as an outbreak in our centre would require all birds to be euthanised.
“We never want to turn away any animal in need, but we must protect our current patients from this highly contagious, incurable, deadly disease. The national RSPCA’s animal rescuers are continuing to attend reports of sick and injured birds. Find out more: https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/latest/news.
“Anyone who comes across a dead bird is asked to please report it to Defra on 03459 33 55 77 – option 7.”