Of all the extinct species, my favourite is the Moa.
Like supercharged emus, these flightless birds could grow to up to 12 feet in height.
Due to the unique ecosystem of New Zealand – basically, cut off from the world – the only predator they had was the Haast’s Eagle, the largest eagle ever to live on the planet.
For tens of thousands of years the two species lived in something approaching harmony: Moa would waddle along devouring shrubs and greenery on the ground and every now and then a ridiculously large eagle would swoop down and eat one.
Then man arrived.
Sometime around the Battle of Bannockburn the first Maori arrived on New Zealand and within 150 years the Moa had been hunted to extinction.
The Haast’s Eagle said its final goodbyes soon after thanks to the disappearance of its favourite food source.
The decision to start culling gulls in Dundee has, on the face of it, very little to do with two species of birds becoming extinct on the other side of the planet more than half a millennia ago.
But it does show that humans, whether intentionally or not, can have a devastating effect on the eco-system.
The problem in Dundee is one of proliferation rather than extermination.
Like many other towns and cities, gulls have found it easier to find food inland where city streets and bins are overflowing with food scraps.
Even if you’ve never been unlucky enough to be attacked by a seagull in search of food, it’s likely you’ll have seen one giving you the evil eye as you walk past it while it devours the remnants of someone’s Gregg’s or McDonald’s.
The problem has become so bad in Dundee that the City Council has been granted special permission to shoot some of the most troublesome gulls.
This will, however, only be a short-term fix.
As long as gulls can find an easy supply of food in towns and cities then they will continue to nest away from their natural habitat on the coast.
It’s human behaviour that is responsible for aggressive gulls and it’s human behaviour that needs to change if we want them to stop them menacing town and city centres permanently.