Malta’s Cabinet is earmarking two large swathes of woodland to be placed under the ownership of hunters, according to reports.
Sources who spoke to both the Times of Malta and Malta Today have claimed that Prime Minister Robert Abela has offered by l-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa and/or Miżieb in a deal that will see hunting lobbies pocket thousands to manage the area.
The agreement will see hunters manage the land by managing alien species and introducing nature wardens. In return, the areas will be considered hunting reserves.
The FKNK has long laid claim over the land due to an alleged 1986 letter from former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici but conservationists have insisted they have no rights whatsoever. The public space is used by persons of all walks of life across Malta.
The issue came to the fore following a dispute between Birdlife volunteer Nimrod Mifsud and the BBC naturalist Chris Packham.
This year’s hunting season opened to controversy, after around 6,000 licenses were issued despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Birdlife Malta has filed a police complaint calling for all hunting licenses to be revoked with immediate effect, insisting that they were issued against the law
This year, the licenses were issued by the Gozo Ministry, and not under the Environment Ministry. This came after Clint Camilleri kept the remit of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit after being moved onto the post.
Yesterday, several hunters were caught on tape shooting down protected turtle doves and other species.