BirdLife Malta has requested 24 hour police surveillance after an endangered bird species from an Italian conservation reintroduction program landed in Malta earlier today.
The Egyptian Vulture, or Avultun Abjad as it is known in Maltese, is being tracked for its movements thanks to a satellite tag after it was released from Parco della Murgia Materna in Basilicata, Italy back in August.
In light of hunting season, and poachers shooting down an endangered greater juvenile flamingo and marsh harrier the other week, BirdLife has requested that police monitor ‘Leonardo’ during his stay here.
“These rare birds are endangered in Europe and they are on the verge of extinction,” BirdLife said in a Facebook post.
“The Italian conservation programme to which this bird belongs aims to increase their numbers by breeding vultures in captivity and releasing them into the wild.”
Leonardo is the second Egyptian Vulture to visit the island over the past few years, with ‘Tobia’ being the first that spent a night here in September 2015.
The Egyptian Vulture is Europe’s only long-distance migratory vulture, flying up to 640km per day and 5,000 km in total between European breeding sites and Saharan wintering grounds.
The bird will be under surveillance by local authorities until it leaves the Maltese Islands.