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Seagull with litter SUS-160330-175939001
Seagull with litter SUS-160330-175939001

An environmental enthusiast from Eastbourne has spent the past 12 months training a small flock of seagulls to pick up litter from the beach.

Love Clean Streets founder Ian Blackburn said, “Seeing the seagulls on the seafront tearing open rubbish bags on the promenade last summer was infuriating me.

“They would use their beaks to rip open the bags in such a vigorous way that they almost looked like monsters.”

“I had an idea that if I could train them to pick up the rubbish and be rewarded with food, everyone would be happier.”

In his day job, Ian runs an environmental reporting app, Love Clean Streets, which is close to reaching one million interactions of people reporting fly-tips, dog mess and graffiti across the UK.

“I really didn’t think it would be possible, but here I am with my small team of rubbish clearing gulls, turning them into litter pickers instead of litter peckers.”

Flora Iplo, an ornithological psychologist, said, “Seagulls are very intelligent and misjudged animals.

“Like most of us, they want food in the most convenient way possible, and what Ian has done is tamed these animals through the power of hunger to his advantage.”

Ian has plans to recruit and train more litter-picking gulls and roll out his concept across the UK.

Make your way down to Eastbourne seafront before midday today (April 1) to see the seagulls in action.

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