In a bid to protect both human and animal life within Reykjavík, city councilor for the Independence Party Kjartan Magnússon has submitted a proposal to take action against seagulls.
Critiquing the birds’ aggression and dominance at Tjörnin, the Reykjavík city pond, Kjartan stated to RÚV: “Some use the analogy that the seagull is like a flying rat. I don’t want to speak so strongly, but I understand the analogy well when you see them among the ducks and ducklings here at the pond.”
Concretely, the proposal aims to heighten Reykjavík’s gull-deterrent capabilities by firing warning shots to scare the gulls, increasing signage to not feed the birds.
The proposal is only the latest flashpoint in Reykjavík’s fraught history in human-seabird relations.
In 2007, some 60-70 seagulls were anaesthetized in the capital area. The gulls were tranquilized with drug-laced breadcrumbs and then given lethal injections. However, the initiative came under critique for being unscientific and unethical. Additionally, the initiative was shown to be ineffective, with a cost of ISK 17.000 per bird, and an unclear, if any, impact on the gull population.