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Join Spring Watch Malta 2008 – Invitation from BirdLife Malta

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Springwatch-Malta-logo.jpgWhat is Spring Watch Malta about? Spring Watch Malta is a conservation camp which forms an integral part of BirdLife Malta’s fight against illegal spring hunting. This camp is being organised during the peak spring migration period in Malta and thus the period with the highest expected hunting intensity.

This spring camp will follow hot on the heels of the very successful Raptor Camp run by BirdLife Malta in September 07 during which over 50 people from the UK, Germany, Italy, Finland, the USA, Hungary and the Netherlands participated. To find out more about the results from this Raptor Camp, please click here.

When will the camp be held? April 14 to April 29, 2008

Why is Spring Watch Malta Important? This year, there is a strong possibility that spring hunting (which is illegal throughout the rest of the European Union) will be banned for the very first time in Malta.

If this is the case, then it is vital that BirdLife Malta maintains a strong presence in the countryside to make sure that hunters respect the law, while at the same time recording data on migratory species.

However, if Malta goes against the European Commission and once again breaks European law by allowing spring hunting, then volunteers will be needed to demonstrate the impact of this hunting season by recording the extent of hunting in spring, while at the same time making sure that hunters do not target protected species.

What’s in it for you? This is an excellent chance to make a genuine contribution to wildlife conservation and experience life in another country. You will be given the opportunity to get involved in serious conservation work and, more importantly, play a part in Malta’s fight to stop illegal spring hunting.

Is this an international effort? To highlight the international impact of spring hunting, BirdLife Malta and WWF Italy/Mediterranean Association for Nature (MAN) have joined forces to promote their activities.

Malta and Sicily are both on the central European-African migratory flyway and are notorious hot-spots for illegal hunting activity. In the past, before serious conservation efforts in Sicily, illegal hunting was as bad as the situation in present-day Malta. This effort will highlight the importance of wild bird protection in an international context and enhance conservation efforts in the Mediterranean.

The impact of illegal hunting in countries along the main raptor migratory flyways is an international issue that effects birds breeding in Europe and wintering in Africa. A bird shot illegally in Sicily or Malta is therefore not just a crime affecting that country, but one that is of European and African concern. The presence of foreigners helping out in these camps raises awareness amongst the locals who are increasingly more supportive of bird conservation issues.

The camp in Sicily lasts from April 14 until May 25, 2008. Where possible, attendees are encouraged to attend both camps. Please click here to visit details about the WWF camp in Sicily.

Further information For more information on Spring Watch Malta 2008 please click here to download the briefing paper (PDF). To book simply send an email to Nicholas Crockford with the subject “Spring Watch Malta” outlining any information you require.

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