From The Malta Independent July 03, 2001
Heroes and Villains
Malta remains the George Cross Island in the eyes of most of the UK population, fondly remembered for its courageous people
Now, as then, there are villains and heroes. Since my initial letter on this subject, I have been in contact
with several prominent Maltese conservationists.
It is clear to me that the present villains are the hunters. They
are shooting migratory birds that are conservation priorities in most of northern Europe.
A Honey Buzzard lucky
enough to make it to the UK, would have thousands of admirers during its stay, generating a huge amount of tourist revenue.
The first Ospreys to nest in Scotland have brought in over a million visitors since they first colonised in the
1950s. Tourist revenues have completely revitalised the local economy. Conversely, Maltese hunters are scaring away legitimate
tourists and damaging Maltas fine reputation.
The heroes of Malta are the Justin Vassallos of this world, forced
to watch as birds are shot out of the sky on supposed nature reserves.
Unarmed - and yet facing down hunters with
I have an article by Justin on my website (see below)
He actively encourages birders from across Europe
to visit and help to monitor the slaughter. Read the article, it is a real eye-opener.
For the record, I am not a
travel agent, I am a teacher. I do however publish a large website dedicated to the travelling ornithologist. I also know
that the off-season, (migration time) eco-tourist revenues of Mediterranean islands like Mallorca and Lesbos are enormously
valuable to their economies and their people. Hotels full of birdwatchers if you can believe it!
Birdtours on Malta