From The Malta Independent June 08, 2001
Birdwatching holiday on Gozo
I have recently spent a week on holiday in Gozo. I very much appreciated the beauty of the island and the friendliness of
the Gozitans. The only aspect which marred the enjoyment was the prevalence of wild bird hunting, an activity which never
appears to be mentioned in guidebooks or tourist literature.
The shooting and trapping of wild birds appears to take
place on a large scale, even during the breeding season, for no purpose other than 'sport'. It obviously must affect the resident
bird population, but seems designed particularly to decimate migrant birds on their way to Europe from Africa. Thus Europeans
are deprived of many of their avian summer visitors.
I am aware that Gozo is not the only area in which such slaughter
is allowed, but the Maltese Islands provide a stepping stone for migrant birds and thus focuses large numbers of birds into
a small area before they disperse through Italy into northern Europe. Europeans are increasingly conscious of the issues of
wildlife conservation and the sustainability of ecosystems, and will not accept such practices, which are in any case illegal
under European law.
I would urge you for the sake of your tourist industry, if for no other reason, to voice your
concerns to those who have the power to educate the would-be hunters and get them to understand the futility and senselessness
of what they are doing. How much better to use all those stone hides and perches littering Gozitan headlands to promote eco-tourism
in bird-watching holidays.
Derek J. Gobbett