Malta: EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project sign vandalised again

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Malta: EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project sign vandalised again

Mensagem por Gonçalo Elias em Sab Jan 22, 2011 1:39 pm

EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project sign vandalised again

The EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater (Progett Garnija) project sign at Rdum tal-Madonna (L-Ahrax tal-Mellieha) has been vandalised for the third time over the last four years, while illegal trapping activity and off-roading continue to cause damage at the EU protected Natura 2000 site.

The EU LIFE project sign which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi in March 2007 was destroyed within a week of the project launch. Its replacement was shattered by gunshot last June. The latest vandalism comes six months after the current sign was put in place.

A huge trapping site which was built on public land without any permits within the Rdum tal-Madonna Special Area of Conservation has been recently observed actively trapping wild birds. Over the past four years this site has upgraded its infrastructure with the addition of a concrete trench on garrigue habitat (Xaghri), and has been reported to
the ALE and MEPA for illegal trapping out of season and illegal trapping for protected species.

This is the largest of two trapping sites within the Rdum tal-Madonna protected area which remain active, despite MEPA having scheduled all trapping sites in the protected area for removal over a year ago.

Damage is also being caused by off-roaders riding motorbikes on the garrigue, and vehicles driving into the afforested areas. Necessary measures to prevent vehicles from accessing the protected area have been requested from the authorities since 2007 as part of the EU LIFE project. To date barely any action has been taken.

Rdum tal-Madonna is a Natura 2000 area protected due to important habitats present and Malta’s largest colony of Yelkouan Shearwater (Garnija), a globally near threatened seabird. Malta hosts an estimated 10% of the world’s population of Yelkouan Shearwater.

Over the course of four years, the EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project reversed the decline of these birds at the Rdum tal-Madonna colony through a number of conservation actions by Heritage Malta, the Armed Forces of Malta, the Capture Fisheries Division with the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, Transport Malta, the RSPB (BirdLife UK), SPEA (BirdLife Portugal) and BirdLife Malta.
Gonçalo Elias

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