Seagulls in This Belgian Town Are to Be Given the Contraceptive Pill

A seagull catching a snack
A seagull catching a snack | © Kenny Louie / Flickr

Seagulls often cause trouble in seaside resorts, from opening trash bags to stealing food from people, causing messes with their droppings and cawing loudly. The Belgian town of Blankenberge has had enough of their mischievous antics and will start feeding the obnoxious birds anti-conception pills to lower their population.

Loved by over 40s

Throughout the year, seagulls disturb the peace in Belgium’s coastal cities, but with the breeding period around the corner, now is the time to limit the problem ahead of the new tourist season, the mayor of Blankenberge Ivan de Clerck told Belgian press agency, Belga.

By EU law, it is not allowed to cull seagulls, so city councils have had to get creative in their attempts to lower populations. Anti-conception medication has been given to pigeons before, but Blankenberge is the first town to try it on seagulls.

A seagull in flight

Veterinarian Pieter Colla is in charge of the project. He has already administered birth control pills to pigeons in the Belgian town of Tongeren with great success. Other trials with oral contraceptives for pigeons have been successful in popular tourist destinations such as Barcelona and Venice. ‘As long as we manage to get oral contraceptives to the seagulls regularly, the medication will make sure their egg white and egg yolk will mix, so you will get a scrambled egg, which is impossible for a chick to grow in’, he explained to Belgian public broadcaster VRT. The medication used for the project comes from the Italian pharmaceutical company Galluvet.

According to the Vlaamse Vogelbescherming, the Flemish society for the protection of birds, the plan is a bad idea. ‘We’re talking about a few individual birds that are causing a nuisance, not the entire population’, employee Nicolas Brackx told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. Brackx also thinks it is highly likely that not all the birds will eat the food spiked with contraception. ‘Only the dominant birds will get to the food and eat it all before the weaker ones get to it’.

Feeding seagulls through the car window

He also worries other animals might eat the contaminated food that is meant for the seagulls. Another problem with the current idea is that seagulls who have their nest in Blankenberge might not necessarily search for food in that same area, they might forage in other Belgian coastal areas, so they won’t get medicated, according to Brackx.

The mayor of Blankenberge has said he will take the society’s objections into consideration and ask them for advice. Previous measures taken in Blankenberge to stop the seagull terror were nighttime garbage collection and tracking the birds’ nests with drones so the eggs could be destroyed and replaced with fake eggs.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.