A total of 2,500 indigenous trees are set to be planted and distributed around the island as an extension of the Barn Owl reintroduction project led by Malta’s hunting lobby.
The project extension will see 2,500 seeds planted in an 800 square metre area in re-usable pots, after which they will be distributed around the islands when they have grown into trees.
The green initiative forms part of a collaboration with the Saġġar initiative, which aims to plant a million trees across the island.
The Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Aaron Farrugia, praised the project that is based in Razzett tal-Bagħal just outside the Buskett woodlands.
The five-year project for the reintroduction of barn owls, also known as barbaġann, was given the green light last year after the species had been extinct in Malta since the 1980s. As the only country in Europe to ever home them, it is on the island where they have the best chance for rehabilitation.
Federazzjoni Kaccaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti’s president, Joe Perici Calascone said that the conservation effort “deserves recognition as it is as much of a part of who we are as an organization as the side in which we kill for sport.”
The trees which are to be planted include Aleppo pines and carob trees as well as the rare Fulu tal-Kelb, which has not been seen anywhere except for the Salib tal-Gholja area.
A rare Steppe Eagle is also being held on-site at The Malta Falconers’ Club and is under the wing of the FKNK to help house and feed it.
“This bird is the only one of its kind in Malta – we have to keep it here because it was imported illegally, ” said FKNK’s spokesman Lucas Micallef.
“It is our duty to promote and invest in initiatives which preserve it for present and future generations – ensuring that our natural heritage does not become a distant memory,” said Farrugia.
All these efforts to protect the flora and fauna of Malta help us achieve a better understanding of the struggles faced by our deteriorating environment every day. This natural bio-diversity forms part of our culture just as much as everything else.