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PA asked to regularise ‘enclosure’ for pumas and monkeys

An application to regularise illegally developed animal enclosures, hosting two monkeys, two pumas and a number dog kennels, has been presented to the Planning Authority

james
James Debono
11 August 2017, 9:53am
Cages hosting the pumas
Cages hosting the pumas
An application to regularise illegally developed animal enclosures, hosting two monkeys, two pumas and a number dog kennels, has been presented to the Planning Authority.

The animals are being kept on a site in Sqaq Haz-Zebbug off Wied Incita in Attard.

Aerial photos taken by the Planning Authority in 2012 show that the site in question was completely free of any development. But the situation had completely changed by the time that new aerial photos were taken in 2016.

Despite the illegalities, which include cages, kennels and a medicine room, the PA has not yet issued an enforcement order. Instead the owners have applied to regularise the animal enclosures and other works on site.

Aerial photos of the site in 2012 and 2016 – the site before and after the ‘animal enclosures’ were set up
Aerial photos of the site in 2012 and 2016 – the site before and after the ‘animal enclosures’ were set up
The 1,333 square metre site includes various cages, a medicine room, boundary walls and hard surfacing. The Environmental Resources Authority has described the attempt to sanction the illegalities as a “flagrant example where no environmental considerations whatsoever have been regarded, which has resulted in illegal commitments and associated excessive land uptake at the expense of the countryside.” 

The ERA has once again denounced the “malpractice of first developing a site irrespective of its ODZ status and then requesting the sanctioning of a fait accompli.”

 According to the ERA the development has already led to the loss of agricultural land and the removal of a number of trees.

The ERA has also warned that the fact that animals are already kept on site should not automatically justify the proposal. Moreover according to the ERA no permit has been issued for the keeping of animals on site.

Landowner Charlton Zammit presented the application in February. The application does not refer to the use of the place as a public zoo but simply seeks the regularisation of the animal enclosures. Other places hosting wild animals awaiting a full planning permit include the Arka ta’ Noe zoo and the one in Montekristo.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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