BirdLife demands action over FKNK illegal activities

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In reaction to the FKNK’s press release of today claiming that BirdLife Malta intends to press charges against the federation for an illegal bird ringing activity that was carried out last November, the conservation organization clarified that it had informed the authorities about the FKNK’s illegal action last December and that it expects action to be taken by the relevant authorities.

BirdLife Malta last December informed the police Commissioner, MEPA and the OPM that certain members of the FKNK contravened 9 different sections of LN79 of 2006 during a self-claimed ringing activity which took place inside Buskett Bird Sanctuary on the 29th November 2008.

“In a blatant PR stunt, the FKNK administration illegally ringed wild birds that had been caught and kept in captivity and carried out this activity without the necessary permits from MEPA and the police. It is astounding that this Federation first breaks the laws on multiple counts and then complains when BirdLife demands that the authorities take action against them,” said Dr Andre Raine, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager.

Scientific bird ringing is a strictly monitored activity under national and international law. Bird ringers need to have a license issued by both the police and MEPA and use standard rings authorized by the Director of MEPA. Scientific bird ringing in Malta is administered by BirdLife Malta, as the national representative of the EURING (European Union for Bird Ringing), under license from MEPA.

In a letter sent by EURING regarding this incident to the Prime Minister Dr Gonzi on the 22nd of January 2009, the President of EURING Prof Dr Bairlein wrote:

“The recent activities of the FKNK are not only illegal according to Maltese law, they violate the rules and long lasting and well accepted high standards of EURING and they jeopardize the important work of scientific bird ringing at the national and European level. Therefore we are deeply concerned about the recent and illegal activities of the FKNK in issuing and using internationally unrecognized rings in Malta.”

Birdlife Malta once again demanded that the Maltese authorities enforce nature conservation laws and make it clear to those who do not comply with national and international regulations that the government will not tolerate these illegal activities.

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