Turns out that puma on a roof in Fgura is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exotic animals in Malta.
A Freedom of Information request by Newsbook to the Environmental Ministry has revealed just how many animals you thought you’d only see in movies are on the island – and that number is 46.
There are 14 different species of exotic animals in Malta that are legally allowed to be here. There are four species of monkey (with 12 monkeys on the island in total), as well as seven pumas, seven tigers, eight lions and even a type of “small crocodile”.
Pictured above: Playtime at Qui-Si-Sana
Many of those animals are housed in one of the seven licensed zoos in Malta – because yes, we apparently have seven licensed zoos in Malta
These include the Wild Life Park in Baħrija, the National Aquarium in St Paul’s Bay, The Malta Falconry Centre in Siġġiewi, The Bird Park in Burmarrad, Mediterraneo Marine in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq and the Arka ta’ Noe in Siġġiewi.
If you want to live with an exotic animal in Malta, this is what you have to do
Maltese law, specifically Legal Notice 46, states that exotic animals need to be kept in an area that gives them adequate space and meets certain requirements… like a zoo.
However, that law was passed in 2016, and many of the exotic animals on the island prior to 2016 were given an exception to this law. Such as in the case of the Puma in Fgura, which lives in an adequate indoor and outdoor space according to law, so these exotic animals could be living in your neighbours home.
“What do you want us to do, put all those animals, including the puma, that were on the island before 2016 down?” a Maltese official had told Lovin Malta earliest last month. “We made an exception since the puma was here prior to the law coming into force.”
Pictured above: You and your neighbour’s pet moose
If you don’t have a zoo that is appropriate, though, you need to get permission from the Director of Veterinary Services
If you don’t own a zoo, you need to apply for permission to keep these animals, once again to the director of vet services. Obviously, one of the key requirements is to ensure that the animal doesn’t escape, because no one wants a lion loose in Naxxar.