A total of €106,188 were allocated to local voluntary organisations FKNK, KSU, Birdlife Malta, Nature Trust Malta and Fridericus Rex falconry club, for nine projects that promote the conservation of wild birds.
Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change José Herrera, together with Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Clint Camilleri, awarded the grants to the five NGOs.
The projects range from educational campaigns on the conservation of avian species to the installation of nesting sites for locally breeding birds, pest management, awareness raising initiatives on hunting safety and handling birds of prey, to the re-introduction of barn owl species.
Minister Herrera stressed that, “with these type of funds we are directly helping NGOs implement their projects.”
He went on to highlight an innovative aspect of this funding scheme, being the fact that penalties collected from hunting-related offences are being channelled back into conservation.
“During a high-level conference on wildlife crime held two years ago in the Hague, Malta committed itself to establishing a bird conservation fund as a wildlife deal,” he said.
“Then in May last year we launched a call for proposals, which received substantial interest from NGOs. Today, we are seeing concrete projects that will benefit from conservation,” the Minister said.
Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri expressed confidence that this conservation initiative will successfully grow further and produce its first fruits in a few months time.
He thanked the Wild Birds Regulation Unit and the Conservation of Birds Fund Committee for championing this initiative and wished the five NGOs well for the successful completion of their projects.
The NGOs will receive financial support from the Conservation of Wild Birds Fund for the nine projects that were proposed.
The fund provides financial assistance to registered NGOs to support initiatives contributing to the conservation of wild birds, sustainable hunting governance, awareness raising, education and research related to avian species.
All projects awarded grants are expected to be completed within one year from the award of the grants.
Photograph: DOI/Kevin Abela