Cádiz is a city in Spain with a population of about 8,000 pigeons. But according to the humans on the city council, this is too many, and the local government has now pledged to humanely relocate 5,000 of the unwanted birds.
The pigeon problem in Cádiz first came to the attention of the public about 2 years ago when Horeca, a group representing local businesspeople, complained about the number of pigeons in one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, Cathedral Square. The group said that the birds drive tourists away because they defecate on popular attractions, business terraces, and people, as well as trying to steal food from customers eating outside. Antonio De Maria Ceballos, president of Horeco, owns a local restaurant and said that the pigeons drove away 20% of his customers.
In response to the complaints, Cádiz city council carried out a census on the pigeon population in the area and came to the conclusion that there are about 8,000 pigeons living within the city. This figure, according to the council’s findings, is 3-4 times too many for a city the size of Cádiz. But rather than simply culling the animals, as is done with pests in most cities, the people of Cádiz have decided to show their more caring side, and relocate the birds to a new home.
Their plan is to trap 5,000 pigeons over the course of the next 12 months. These pigeons will then be given an examination by a vet to ensure they are not carrying any dangerous diseases, before being released 375 miles away near the town of Riba-Roja de Túria.
While you may think the plan has a fatal flaw in that the pigeons could just fly back, wild pigeons are generally happy to settle anywhere that can sustain them. The council will also distribute 3,000 leaflets asking residents not to feed the pigeons, in order to make the city less attractive to any pigeons passing by in the future.
The entire plan may seem like a surprisingly sympathetic approach coming from a government body, but it is just the latest in a series of moves to protect animal rights taken by Cádiz. The city has previously banned the use of animals in circus acts and the euthanization of healthy animals, as well as selecting 40 designated stray cat feeders to control the number of stray cats in the city.