In Peninsula Valdes, Argentina, there is a growing conflict between two native species, southern right whales and kelp gulls. In recent years the gull population has increased dramatically due to the availability of food in landfills full of garbage. Kelp gulls have learned to feed on the skin and blubber of right whales, alarming scientists and conservationists, posing a potential threat to these endangered whales.

Mariano Sironi is a biologist with the Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas (ICB) in Argentina. Mariano and ICB were the focus of a documentary film we produced in 2007 about southern right whales.

A fierce debate has erupted about the best way to tackle this growing problem, including calls to cull one native species in order to protect another. Mariano gives us an update on the latest research (PDF) on the penisula, and whether there is a solution in this hotly contested issue.

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