A man has been charged with wanton destruction of wildlife for allegedly killing 25 sea gulls by feeding them poisoned french fries.
The California gulls, protected as the state bird in Utah and also by federal regulations governing migratory birds, gobbled down the fries at the Burger Bar restaurant on April 15, authorities said.Twenty-four dead birds were recovered from the parking lot, and another dead gull was found in the Roy area, state Division of Wildlife Resources officers said.
David Fowler, 42, of Taylor, faces arraignment on the single class B misdemeanor count June 4 before Weber County Justice Court Judge Craig Storey.
Only one charge was filed because all the deaths stemmed from a single incident, Deputy Weber County Attorney Michaela Andruzzi said.
Fowler allegedly told wildlife officers he fed the poison to the gulls because he felt the birds were a nuisance.
The largest breeding population of California gulls in the continental United States is on the Great Salt Lake, said Jake Faibisch, a DWR information officer.
"We have more than California does," he said. "They come inland and forage all day and they're very gregarious and move around a lot.
"The message is this," Faibisch said. "If gulls are a nuisance to you - and there are who knows how many in the area - to send them away, eliminate what attracts them: open Dumpsters, grease thrown out by restaurants, trash at picnic and campgrounds."