A Mellieħa councillor has called out the person behind a trap left in Selmun that caught a hedgehog, killing it.
Hedgehogs have been a protected species in Malta since 1993, and are considered to have “near threatened” status. However, traps laid out in the countryside can still attract and kill the little mammal – and councillor Gabriel Micallef was not going to let a recent death go unnoticed.
“This morning in Selmun – egoism and disrespect towards the environment,” he said in a status alongside an image of the trapped hedgehog.
He lamented the low value being given to these beautiful creatures and our environment.
“It’s true: fields, the countryside and a hedgehog won’t line your pockets,” he continued. “But they give you peace and a sense of relief. It removes the sadness and stress the world gives you in packs.”
“Whoever has not discovered the beauty of walking in the countryside, has not discovered peace.”
Hedgehogs are considered rare in Malta, and the Algerian Hedgehog is the only type of hedgehog found on the islands. Their numbers have been decimated by urban encroachment and continuous development, as well as vehicles and dogs – and traps like this are just another threat to the timid creature.
Organisations like Nature Trust Malta are actively rehabilitating any injured hedgehogs they can find – but with people placing lethal traps in the countryside, one of the few places that remain for hedgehogs to live, there is more reason than ever to be vigilant.