Department of Conservation up in arms over video of man grabbing seagull

A screenshot of the video.
A screenshot of the video. Photo credit: TikTok/@taylorstictac

A video of a man clutching a protected seagull in Dunedin has the Department of Conservation (DoC) up in arms.

The short clip, posted to video sharing site TikTok, shows a flock of gulls swooping overhead before the camera pans down to reveal a gull grasped in the man's hand. He then tosses it away.

It's been viewed more than 30 million times.

The red-billed gull, which the man grabs, is protected and a colony at Taiaroa Head, near Dunedin, is the only one in New Zealand not declining. DoC operations manager Annie Wallace told Otago Daily Times the video is "disappointing" .

"Tarapunga are protected under the Wildlife Act, meaning it is illegal to disturb, harass or kill them. Those who do so can face fines or imprisonment."

She added that the gulls should not be fed human food either, as it can make them sick and anyone who has seen the video should not try to replicate it.

Newshub has contacted DoC for further comment.