BirdLife insists hunting, trapping should be banned at Nwadar nature park

BirdLife Malta warns that allowing hunting and trapping in planned nature park at Zonqor Point will 'drastically contradict with the concept of a nature park'

Trapping structures being removed from the Majjistral nature park in 2014
Trapping structures being removed from the Majjistral nature park in 2014

Hunting and trapping should be prohibited at a planned national nature park at Zonqor Point, BirdLife Malta has insisted.

“Nature parks should be living museums where the public can experience and enjoy nature,” BirdLife chief executive Mark Sultana said in a statement. “Allowing hunting and trapping in these areas contradicts drastically with the concept of a nature park. Hunting and trapping take away nature, and never supplement it. During the hunting seasons, very few people will be able to enjoy the park and will be barred from walking freely because of hunting and trapping.”

Environment minister Leo Brincat on Friday told a public consultation meeting that hunting and trapping will be allowed at the proposed Nwadar park, as the government “doesn’t want to hinder any hobbies”. He also said that all hobbies would be "regulated to avoid the law of the jungle".

Jason Bonnici, from the consultative council of the south and a member of the Environment and Resources Authority Board, said a balance would be reached between citizens’ recreational needs, the farmers, and hunters and trappers.

“Other parks have succeeded in this and the management of the park will help the balance,” he said.

However, Sultana warned that several visitors to the Majjistral Nature Park in Mellieha complain that hunting and trapping are rampant there, while hunters and trappers object to having visitors walking about.

“Hunting and trapping have been tolerated at the Majjistral Nature Park simply because the authorities lack the moral resolve to comprehend the negative impact of hunting and trapping on the natural environment,” he said. “Nwadar can never be a nature park if hunting and trapping is allowed, and we urge the Prime Minister to take the bold step of banning hunting and trapping from it.”