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August 21, 2009 

Ask the Washington State ferry system to humanely solve their gull conflicts

Picture of GullGulls (commonly referred to as seagulls) are a federally protected migratory bird, but for over a decade the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services has worked on contract with the state ferry system to lethally remove problem birds by shooting or gassing them. The USDA has permission from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to remove up to 4,000 gulls "potentially threatening public health and safety" throughout Washington, including the ferry docks. Isn't it time the state ferries seek a more proactive and humane solution?

You can take action today!

  1. E-mail and Attention: Marta Coursey, Director of Communications and Susan Harris, Customer Information Manager.
  2. Briefly and politely ask our ferry system to stop using lethal methods to solve conflicts with federally protected native gulls. Remind them that gulls are attracted to this area because visitors are allowed, even encouraged in some cases, to feed gulls which ultimately sets up a potential for conflicts with humans. Encourage the state ferry system to be a role model in seeking humane solutions such as:
    • Post signs prohibiting the feeding of gulls—a recommendation provided in the USDA Gull Management fact sheet under habitat management.
    • Work with neighboring restaurants to also post signs and clean up trash.
    • Partner with the WDFW to propose and pass laws which fine people for intentional feeding certain wildlife.

Quick actions you can follow-up with:

  1. Call Marta Coursey, Director of Communications at 206.515.3918 and Susan Harris, Customer Information Manager at 206.515.3460 and express the same sentiments above.
  2. Contact neighboring restaurants, such as Ivar's, Inc. at 206.587.6500 or, and politely ask that they remove their signs encouraging the feeding of gulls and replace them with messages promoting keeping our Puget Sound clean and keeping people and wildlife safe.

Read more in Seattle Times' article on state ferry's gull conflicts.

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