A NOVELTY IN 2009 IN THE GULL PROJECT: THE SCARE CANNON

goelands3In June, 2009, APLA gave itself the very latest technology in terms of scaring gulls away: the repeating sound cannon or Scare Cannon. This new machine emits repetitive loud sound blasts between 16hrs and 19hrs, to scare away gulls that come to roost and leave their phosphate rich droppings in Lake l’Achigan. The Scare Cannon complements the other rafts with “Imite-rapaces” (Fake Birds of Prey) and fireworks by Mr. Georges Raymond, APLA Director.

Remember that in 2007 APLA decided to take strong measures to fight the gulls that polluted our lake with their phosphate-rich dejections. Thus we installed four scare devices to chase away those pests. Their population, numbering between 5,000 and 7,000 gulls each evening at the height of the season, from Mid-August to Mid-September, originally comes from the St. Lawrence islands, but is attracted into our region by the Waste Management Co. garbage burial site in Ste Sophie. After feeding on the garbage, the birds come over to digest and sleep at Lake l’Achigan, the largest body of water close to their “McDo”. According to available data, their droppings each summer generate approximately 200 kilos of phosphate in the lake water. This corresponds to the human waste of 250 individuals who would dump it in the lake all year. Remember that phosphate is a major cause of proliferation of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).

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The project started in Mid-May, 2007 and is still being pursued. We draw a very positive picture of our work in the fight against gulls and the 2008 statistics support our point: their numbers have greatly decreased since the inception of the APLA action plan.