[WATCH] Handing over Miżieb and l-Aħrax woodlands to hunters ‘purely vote-catching exercise’

“Instead of giving more land back to the public, the Prime Minister is driving a wrong and outdated policy on the environment” 

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana
BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana

A decision to hand over Miżieb and the l-Aħrax woodlands to hunters was driven purely by electoral interests, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said.

“Instead of giving more land back to the public, or looking at the natural environment, or recovering what we have lost through construction and unbridled development, the Prime Minister is driving a wrong and outdated policy on the environment,” Sultana said while addressing a press conference on Friday.  

On Wednesday, it was announced that hunters would be given a formal agreement on Sunday that will give them more control over two traditional hunting grounds in Miżieb and l-Aħrax, which are popular recreational areas for the Maltese public. 

One of the 177 protected Eagles that had flown over Malta was shot down by a hunter
One of the 177 protected Eagles that had flown over Malta was shot down by a hunter

The FKNK will be granted the land from the Lands Authority as well as a memorandum of understanding from the environment minister and the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) to lay down environmental measures, monitoring and patrolling of the area, awareness activities and to ensure all public passageways remain open to the public.

Sultana debunked accusations that if the land had been given to BirdLife or other environmental organizations it would be closed to the public for months. “We see it as a gift, and would give it back to the people, as we have always done for the last 50 years,” he said. 

“We wish to also highlight that just because the government is making an incinerator or planting a few trees, this should cancel out the wrong decisions it is taking with monstrous roads and concrete-covered gardens,” Sultana said.

Sultana said it was shocking considering that Labour called themselves progressive or pro-environment in their electoral manifestos.

Sultana also said law enforcement had fallen behind, and that the police were unable to stop the rampant killing of protected birds on the brink of extinction.

Sultana said that one of the 177 protected Eagles that had flown over Malta was shot down by a hunter, further proving that hunters feel they can do as they please. “The government is responsible for their actions, because they allow this behaviour to continue,” he said.

On Sunday at 4pm, BirdLife Malta is requesting the presence of the public at Miżieb to show the government, that the public is not happy with such “outdated decisions.”

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