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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


Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001