Birdlife raises ‘fake science’ alert over hunters’ bid to create bird ringing scheme

BirdLife wants Prime Minsiter to intervene in hunters’ bid to amend bird ringing laws

A proposed legal change could jeopardise scientific bird studies, because it will allow other bird ringing schemes in Malta that are not affiliated to the European reputable EURING ringing scheme.

Conservationists BirdLife, whose ringing scheme was set up in the 1960s and is affiliated with EURING, fear other schemes will not benefit science, but create possible abuse to birds themselves, referring to third parties “who have every intention to promote fake science”.

BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana said that following previous changes to the law, hunters and trappers can become also licensed bird ringers after they go through the necessary training. “We sincerely believe that Prime Minister Robert Abela is being misled and misinformed about the latest proposals on bird ringing,” Sultana said.

The change is being placed on the agenda of an ORNIS Committee meeting to be held on Wednesday, by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK).

In Malta the law stipulates that licensed ringing schemes can only be those affiliated to EURING, a European-wide network that recognises highly scientific bird ringing schemes to make sure that scientific bird studies, especially those related to bird migration, are well networked and of a high level.

“BirdLife Malta is urging Prime Minister Abela to suspend such amendments to the law until there is a thorough discussion with all stakeholders involved to avoid putting Malta into yet another embarrassing situation with the European Commission in regard to transparency.”