Malta is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the natural place for birds to rest as they make their long migrations between Europe and Africa. These birds are an easy target for the 10,000 bird hunters that occupy the countryside of Malta and each year countless birds are shot out of the sky.
Some birds are simply exhausted from their journey and they need a safe place to rest and refuel before being released. However, here at BirdLife Malta, we do receive about 100 injured birds every year, anything from swifts to flamingos. These birds suffering gunshot injuries are often found lying in agony, some unable to fly or even walk. When they are brought to us, they are taken to a veterinary surgeon who decides what should happen to them.
A number of these birds have injuries from which they can recover and could eventually be released back into the wild. However for these birds, this means a long journey to Sicily to a rehabilitation centre in the north of the island. This is a highly stressful journey for the birds, in cramped conditions, and can greatly reduce their chances of recovery.
BirdLife Malta has been given the opportunity to set up a rehabilitation centre here in Malta. The government have offered a restored farmhouse in Buskett Gardens, a protected area of woodland in the south of Malta. One of the greenest areas on the islands, the gardens provide a quiet and peaceful setting for the birds to recover in.
The Maltese government will be covering the costs of running the centre, which will include the water and electricity to supply the farmhouse. But BirdLife Malta will have to cover all other costs. This includes funding equipment, food and medicine to treat the birds.
Contributions to this campaign will ensure we can get this centre up and running before the next migration season.