Status: 25/09/2023, 17:59 p.m.
By: Vivian Werg
Again and again, the media report on seagull attacks. The birds are considered to be particularly aggressive in Venice – now warnings are to remedy the situation.
Venice – The city on the water is one of the most popular and beautiful cities in northern Italy. Every year, millions of tourists flock to the romantic city with its 418 bridges, 160 canals and 118 islands. However, Venice is once again threatened with classification as an endangered World Heritage Site. To cope with the rush, tourists will have to pay admission from 2024. But the Italian lagoon city has also been plagued by a plague of seagulls for some time.
Seagull problem in Venice: Notes with warnings should help
Once it was the pigeons, but for some years now another poultry has been causing resentment and headaches among the Venetians. Again and again, Italian media report on aggressive seagulls attacking tourists and snatching food out of their hands. The Italian daily La Repubblica has already described the voracious birds as "intelligent and unscrupulous". A nuisance, especially for the city's hotels – because they are bad for business. Some hotel guests have even been equipped with water pistols, reports the daily newspaper Il Giornale – so farwith little success.
Now the city is trying another measure. Hundreds of pieces of paper and posters with the warning "Attenzione ai gabbiani" (Beware of the seagulls) have been attached to waste bins in Venice, reports the Italian news agency Ansa. The request isaddressed primarily to foreign holidaymakers, who are urged not to leave any rubbish behind, not to sit on the floor with food.
Despite many campaigns, it has happened again and again in the past that seagulls are fed with leftovers. There are some rules in the lagoon city, which could be expensive if disregarded. But there are also bizarre laws in other cities in Italy that you should be aware of.
Warnings in Venice at tourist hotspots, but also at the cemetery
According to the Italian news agency, the notes on the containers are an initiative of the municipality and Veritas, the municipal waste disposal company. "We want to make it clear to tourists and residents that you have to be careful to prevent seagulls from hurting anyone," Veritas explains.
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Venice is struggling with a plague of seagulls – warning signs should now help © Imago
The posters were placed on the rubbish bins in the busiest areas of Venice, where the seagull presence is also highest: at the train station, Piazzale Roma and in the Marciana district. But also in the cemetery, where they often nest and are therefore more aggressive towards people who approach their young.
Problem in Venice with the "city animal": Seagulls are becoming more and more familiar with humans
"The seagull has only been an urban animal for a few decades because it has found a good food supply there," explains Mauro Bon, an ornithologist at the Natural History Museum of Venice, to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. Since Veritas began to solve and ban the garbage problem, according to the expert, "certain innate behaviors have strengthened to find food." These include kleptoparasitism, the natural habit of birds to attack other birds in order to steal food from their mouths, and this now also applies to humans.
"The seagull is becoming more and more familiar with the person near whom it is born and grown. These two elements have led to an increase in attacks," Bon said. (Vivian Werg)