Malta Bulletins 2001

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Negative Image

ACTION TODAY

Article in the Times of Malta, 25. January 2002

More swans reportedly killed over past few days

BirdLife Malta has urged the authorities to intensify the search for five swans that were killed by hunters at St Thomas Bay on Sunday but not recovered. A further three were found.

It said public help was needed in such investigations.

BirdLife also urged all those having information related to the swans' case to call the police Administrative Law Enforcement unit on tel. 21 235761, or the society itself on 7925 5697. All information would be treated with the strictest confidence.

The society said it had reliable information that last Sunday, another flock of 30 swans which settled outside St Thomas Bay was shot at and at least another two swans were killed.

Separate reports have reached BirdLife that yet a third flock of five swans rested in Gozo; of these only two were seen flying in the evening.

On seeing another flock of three mute swans on Tuesday, members of the public immediately called the police who promptly dispatched a patrol boat to the area.

All three swans were seen flying off safely later in the afternoon, BirdLife said.

Meanwhile, the Malta Tourism Authority and the Ghaqda Dilettanti tas-Senter u L-Gabjun have both issued statements deploring last Sunday's killing of several swans by hunters in St Thomas Bay, Marsascala.

The MTA warned that this could have an adverse effect on tourism.

"The killing of protected species creates a negative image of Malta, depletes Malta's natural environment, and could also discourage tourists from visiting our islands," the MTA said.

MTA BOSS ADMITS POSSIBILITY OF ADVERSE EFFECT ON TOURISM

J.A. Malta comments:

There is a lack of political will to act against law breakers. And the reason is simple! It is called votes at election time! It is ironic that the present Minister for the Environment Dr Francis Zammit Dimech was once the founder and chairman of a youth organisation (Teens & Twenties Talent Trust) that operated in the 60's and 70's. The organisation was very much in the forefront of environmental issues, a topic that was still in its infancy at the time. It used to organise tree planting activities as well as install nest boxes for birds. The Minister now threads a very fine line, because the shoe is now on the other foot!

Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001