Want to know more about BirdLife Malta and our work? Here you can find the answers to our frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Do you only focus on hunting and trapping issues?
Not at all. Monitoring illegal hunting and trapping is only a fraction of the work we do. Even if this remains at the top of our agenda, as an environmental NGO our main focus is on nature and habitat protection. Our track record during the past few years goes to prove that BirdLife Malta is today a leader in environmental protection and awareness in the Maltese Islands through its multiple initiatives and programmes. Our main pillars of work are conservation, research, and education.
What is conservation?
Nature conservation is the preservation, protection or restoration of the natural environment, ecosystems and biodiversity. This means that efforts and actions are studied and put in place to make sure that nature is sustained and not disturbed.
Why are nature reserves important?
Nature reserves are areas in which biodiversity, unique habitats and wildlife are given priority. This means that human activity in these areas is controlled. Normally, nature reserves already hold ecological importance due to the flora and fauna which inhabit them.
What is a Natura 2000 site?
Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types that are protected in their own right. It stretches across all EU countries, both on land and at sea. The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive
How do you help to conserve nature?
All our efforts are focused on conservation, including our education work which aims to raising awareness and nurture a love for nature from a young age and our research which works to advocate change for the benefit of nature through solid arguments based on scientific facts. We also do a lot of work with helping law enforcement whilst we monitor illegalities up to the stage of prosecution to ensure nature is protect. An important element of our work is also carried out through the nature reserves we manage across the Maltese Islands – Simar, Għadira, Foresta 2000 and now Salina Nature Reserve which create safe havens for wildlife and diverse habitats.
What is bird ringing?
Bird ringing is a conservation tool used to study birds. Ringing birds enables us to monitor the movement of birds giving an insight into aspects of birds’ lives such as survival rate, productivity and migration patterns. The information ringing gives is vital to ensure the effective conservation of birds. Find out more about our bird ringing work here.
Are you only involved in the environment on a local level?
BirdLife Malta is part of the largest environmental partnership in the world – BirdLife International. BirdLife International is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strive to conserve birds, their habitats and worldwide biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. We are most active and work closest with BirdLife Europe, which is the European and Central Asian division of BirdLife International and one of its six regional secretariats. Apart from this, we are involved in several other joint projects with other international partners which team up with us on several issues, including EU-funded projects which we carry out with different local and European partners.
Can you give me some examples of where and how you made a difference?
There are various success stories which we are proud of at BirdLife Malta. The most recent one is the designation of the first eight marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for the Maltese Islands which were announced in 2016. This is probably one of the most notable examples in which BirdLife Malta has made a lasting difference to Malta’s natural environment. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of our main research projects focusing on the breeding seabirds of Malta. Through our scientific work of monitoring species populations and creating protected areas, we are ensuring we take the right action to save Mediterranean seabird populations.
With our expertise in habitat management and transformation, BirdLife Malta was also entrusted with the latest addition to our land management projects by the Government in 2016– Salina. BirdLife Malta will work to transform the salt pans into another nature reserve – a vital habitat for birds.
BirdLife Malta also spearheads environmental education in Malta. Through several initiatives, we strive to connect children, youths and adults with nature to generate an understanding and respect for nature which ultimately change behaviours towards more sustainable lifestyles.
What is Dinja Waħda?
Dinja Waħda is BirdLife Malta’s flagship education programme and involves working in schools in collaboration with the Ministry for Education and Employment. The programme consists of an action guide of lesson plans and resources related to the curriculum in which teachers are trained and supported to use during their classes. These lesson plans and resources all relate to nature with a particular focus on the Maltese environment and wildlife. The programme has become Malta’s largest environmental education initiative spanning across formal education, from kinder through primary and secondary school and up to higher education institutions connecting classroom learning with outdoor education through nature.
Why is education so important for an environmental NGO?
One of the key aims of BirdLife Malta is to protect and conserve wild birds and their habitats in the Maltese Islands. Education is vital in helping us reach our aim by enabling us to share our message and educate children, youths and adults on how they can best protect the environment. Our experiential learning programmes take participants through developing a connection to nature, learning about the environment and wildlife to taking action to protect it. If we do not care about the environment then we will not learn how to protect it. To find out more about our educational programmes click here.
How can caring about our environment benefit me?
Research shows that regular, sustained contact with nature can improve health and wellbeing. In particular, nature can reduce stress, improve physical and mental health and even improve academic attainment. This is a win-win situation. Not only does caring about the environment lead to environmentally friendly behaviours, it also can improve your quality of life.
How is BirdLife Malta financed?
BirdLife Malta does not receive any unrestricted funding from the Government or Maltese state and is entirely reliant on the funds generated from memberships and the generous donations we receive from our supporters. BirdLife Malta also carries out valuable research projects which are also only possible through the EU funding and the financial support of our partners.
Can I participate in the work you do?
Yes. Like any other voluntary organisation we depend on the public’s support and on volunteers to carry out our work and mission. We have volunteers working at our events, at our nature reserves and also serving as ambassadors to promote the work we do. Our events are varied, and the role would be too – you might be playing games or doing crafts with children, helping on a stall at a fair or assisting a group on a guided walk. Other tasks might involve selling merchandise and handling money, and setting up/ taking down displays. This is a flexible role, and you can choose which events you want to support. Volunteering is a great way to help nature and wildlife, while meeting like-minded people and having some fun! If you are interested, click here to see the current opportunities or email us on [email protected].
How can I help BirdLife Malta?
Apart from volunteering, you can help us by becoming a member and supporting our vital work we do. We have several membership options which are tailor-made for different categories and ages – including an option for overseas members! You can join BirdLife Malta online or by filling in a membership form at one of our nature reserves (Simar, Għadira and Salina). You can also help BirdLife Malta by making a donation. Whatever the amount, all of the kind donations we receive enable us to continue and expand our work.
What are the benefits of becoming a member?
Being a BirdLife Malta member entitles you to certain privileges offered exclusively to our members. When joining BirdLife Malta through a children’s membership, every child automatically becomes a member of Klabb Ħuttaf – the largest junior club in Malta. Klabb Ħuttaf members receive their own magazine every two months, which is filled with nature stories, fun facts and activities to get them excited about wildlife! Adult members also receive a quarterly magazine – which is sent out by mail or electronically depending on your personal preference as well as our monthly e-newsletter. Members also benefit from special offers on our merchandise and booking priority for our events. We hope that by joining us you feel the pride and enthusiasm of helping to improve Malta’s natural environment.
What is the way forward for BirdLife Malta?
The challenges that habitats and wildlife are never ending. BirdLife Malta is committed to take on those challenges by mitigating or eliminating their effects. We will continue to give research and education the importance they deserve within our operations, while pushing our conservation efforts to the maximum. Engagement will remain in our strategy and we hope that you will join us to make our goals achievable.