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WATCH: Five Baby Barn Owls Released In Buskett Gardens As Hunting Lobby Seeks To Reintroduce Species Into The Wild

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Five barn owl fledglings have been released in Buskett Gardens as part of a project by hunting lobby FKNK to release the bird species into the wild.

Barn owls (barbaġann) were driven to extinction in Malta several years ago, with the last breeding pair recorded in the wild back in the early 1980s.

The FKNK’s project to reintroduce them into the wild started in 2011 and picked up pace in recent months.

In July, three barn owl fledglings – the offspring of the same owl pair – were introduced in the so-called ‘hacking box’, a cabin where they were provided with food so as to start gradually acclimatising them to the natural environment.

In August, the box was opened and the fledglings let loose into the wild, and in September, two more fledglings were placed into the ‘hacking box’.

The FKNK announced today that all five young owls have been successfully released into the wild, although food will keep being placed in the ‘hacking box’ for now until they fully adapt to hunting for food.

“This success that we have managed to achieve with the barn owl project, notwithstanding some difficulties and obstacles we encountered along the way, gives us immense satisfaction and encourages us to continue moving forward with this project for the conservation and biodiversity of the natural environment, and which Project belongs to all the Maltese and Gozitan people,” FKNK president Lucas Micallef said.

The FKNK added it intends to expand this project to other areas, including urban zones, with the help of tenor Joseph Calleja.

FKNK president Lucas Micallef

FKNK president Lucas Micallef

Former PN MP Franco Debono, who had proposed such a project back in 2012, welcomed today’s news. 

“I am glad to see a proposal which I made in Parliament a decade ago as a Nationalist MP and which I piloted till 2017 finally bearing fruit,” he said.

“ Well done to all those involved during these ten years and I had intended this as a pilot project and other species could and should be introduced in a similar manner.”

Photo left: FKNK, Photo right: TVM 

Which species should Malta reintroduce into the wild next? 

READ NEXT: WATCH: We’re Losing Hope That Things Will Get Better, Mark Laurence Zammit Warns

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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