Three gulls have lost their lives after being shot in the Port Talbot area by air rifle pellets.
Reports were made to the RSPCA concerning the three birds in two separate incidents near Isaac Business Park in the South Wales town.
A member of the public spotted two stricken gulls on Henshaw Street on 9 July – and contacted the RSPCA.
The birds both had damaged wings, and one was bleeding heavily. Sadly, both had to be put to sleep soon afterwards to avoid additional suffering – with further examination confirming both had been shot.
In a separate incident, a gull was seen on Borough Street having crashed into a fence and foaming at the mouth on 16 July.
Sadly, the gull soon died and a recent post-mortem revealed that the animal had also been shot by an air pellet.
The two streets are very close to one another, and the RSPCA believes there is a “high possibility” the incidents are connected.
RSPCA enquiries have not yet secured any leads connected with these shootings, so the charity has launched an appeal for information in the hope of deciphering who may have shot these three birds.
Inspector Neill Manley said: “All three of these gulls were in a really bad way – with two having damaged wings, and a third found foaming at the mouth.
“Henshaw Street and Borough Street – where these two incidents occurred – are very near to one another, and it seems a high possibility to me that these shootings are connected.
“It beggars belief that – as communities rally around one another in these most unprecedented times – someone is taking shots at defenceless gulls like this.
“Sadly, despite enquiries, we are still seeking any leads on this and are appealing to the public for information. If anyone knows anything, we urge them to contact our inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
“These shootings are also another reminder of why the RSPCA supports stricter controls over the use of air guns, including better education and explanation of the law for those purchasing one.”
Gulls, their eggs and their nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – so it is illegal to intentionally kill, take or injure gulls except under licence. Herring gulls in particular are a species of conservation concern in the UK and evidence indicates that overall herring gull populations are actually in decline.