Many people have long considered seagulls to be a nuisance in seaside towns and cities, but one country is now trying to deal with the problem of obese gulls.
Officials in Bahrain say some seagulls have become ‘too fat to fly’ as they are gorging on food discarded by humans.
Speaking to Gulf Daily News, the kingdom's northern municipal council chair Abdullah Al Qubaisi called for a crackdown on people carelessly disposing of leftovers.
Seagulls typically eat the likes of fish, crabs and insects as their main food source.
However, a previous study by the University of Liverpool found that seagulls in urban environments often turn to ‘less natural’ food - something that will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever had their chips or sandwich swiped.
Niall Hatch from Birdwatch Ireland told Newstalk Breakfast that gulls are ‘opportunist’, and will always be on the lookout for easy meals.
He explained: “If there’s food discarded in cities here in Ireland, they will try to go for that.
“It’s important to not feed seagulls deliberately - it’s not good news if they learn to associate food with humans, and expect to be fed.”
However, Mr Hatch said how seagulls behave is often a symptom of what people have done to the environment.
He said: “We need to recognise we as humans have done a lot to destroy these animals’ habitats, as the marine ecosystem is breaking down through overfishing and pollution.
“The gulls, out of sheer desperation, are trying to look elsewhere for food and nesting opportunities.
“We need to make sure we give more of them more space, and realise a lot of their behaviour actually reflects our behaviour.”