Hawking initiative to manage problem gulls in Ilfracombe
17 May 2022
A new initiative to manage problem gulls has arrived in Ilfracombe, after funding for a hawking programme was obtained by North Devon Council.
The persistent nuisance of messy and sometimes aggressive gulls in Ilfracombe prompted the council to search for a solution. Hawking is a humane and environmentally friendly method of dealing with gulls and the litter problem they create, and there are hopes this will help reduce incidents of gull aggression in the town. It uses specially trained hawks to scare gulls out of an area and deter them from returning without harm.
Efforts have been made by the council's Harbourmaster, Georgina Carlo-Paat to obtain funding in previous years, to no avail. Following the recent death of a local man, Dudley Jenkins, who was a proponent of the hawking approach, the search for funding started again in his honour. On this occasion, the government's Welcome Back Fund was identified as being suitable for the purpose and funding was secured.
Ilfracombe Harbourmaster, Georgina Carlo-Paat says: "Gulls have become a real problem in Ilfracombe, with the litter they create and aggressive behaviour towards people in the town. We don't want to harm the gulls but we do want to reduce their numbers and the problems they bring to the town and its residents and visitors.
"We are really excited to work with North Devon Falconry and their trained hawks over the coming year, and are especially pleased to be honouring the memory of Mr Jenkins, who was very keen to see a programme such as this introduced in the town."
The council says interested residents and visitors may be able to spot the hawks flying around the harbour and seafront over the coming weeks and months.
Residents who experience a problem with gulls can report it on the council's website.
The Welcome Back Fund provides councils across England a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic. Ilfracombe's hawking programme is supported by the Welcome Back Fund.