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BIRD MIGRATION AND TRAPPING - Changing cultural attitudes to Trapping in order to facilitate implementation of the Birds Directive in Malta

LIFE07 INF/MT/000554

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Joseph MANGION
Tel: +35621347644
Fax: +35621343239

Project description:


When it joined the European Union in 2004, Malta secured a derogation from the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC). This derogation meant that trapping of some wild songbirds continued to be permitted for a transition period. This period came to an end on 31 December 2008.

The trapping activity caused great damage to populations of songbirds arriving on the island, but there was only limited awareness of this on the island. The limited awareness of the issues became evident during an earlier project (LIFE06 NAT MT 000097), which dealt with conservation of the shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) in Malta.


The BIRD MIGRATION AND TRAPPING project aimed to significantly raise awareness among trappers and the general public in Malta about the damage to wild songbird populations caused by trapping and the ending of the transition period for the legality of trapping activities. It ultimately sought to achieve more rapid implementation of the Birds Directive in Malta, and a measurable decrease in deliberate trapping of wild songbirds.

The project hoped to make at least 70% of the Maltese population aware of the relevant issues by the end of the project. A higher rate of 80% was targeted for public authority decision-makers and 60% for children and young people. It thus sought to promote an important change in attitudes towards the trapping of wild songbirds. Key planned activities within an overall awareness campaign were media outreach, conference organisation, brochure publications and film productions.

The greatest focus of all was to be on trappers, with the project aiming to ensure that 90% of trappers were made aware of the law, and that 70% of them would respect it appropriately. To support the intervention of the appropriate authorities where necessary to enforce the illegality of trapping of wild songbirds the project also sought to increase awareness amongst law enforcement authorities about biodiversity issues and the end of the transition period.


The LIFE+ Information and Communication project Bird Migration and Trapping has made an important contribution to raising awareness in Malta of the damage caused to wild songbirds by trapping and changing attitudes and activities in this field. It highlighted the importance of significant communications activities in areas where hunting/trapping pressures are strong and resistance to environmental measures is significant.

Although, the Maltese Environment and Planning Authority was not in the end comfortable providing contact data on trappers and some stakeholder targets boycotted project activities, the beneficiary was still able to meet 409 trappers. Information was disseminated in face-to-face meetings to these trappers who represented 9% of those licensed during the transition period.

The project successfully delivered key awareness-raising outputs:

  • a pocket calendar of wild songbirds produced and distributed to every household (162 000) in Malta
  • over 10 000 stickers of songbirds produced for children and 7 800 of them distributed to schools during the project lifetime
  • a TV series of thirteen 40-minute programmes was filmed and shown on the 2nd most important channel in Malta – after much negotiation – at 22:15 on Wednesdays. It achieved positive viewing figures of around 24 000 adults compared to a peak figure of 46 000 for that slot
  • an international seminar on trapping of wild songbirds in Malta attended by 75 – despite boycotting by certain key stakeholders
  • Education and information activities about trapping and biodiversity were carried out in primary and secondary schools, involving more than 25 000 pupils.
  • Being an information and communications project, not all results are solely down to the project. Other environmental NGOs have contributed to monitoring trapping sites and expressed interest in supporting further efforts to resolve trapping issues. The European Commission also launched infringement procedures against Malta for non-compliance with the Birds Directive. However, the project’s work significantly contributed to the following achievements:

  • more than 84% of the general public were made aware of the threat represented by trapping for bird species;
  • around 40% of the public made aware that trapping of wild songbirds is forbidden in EU countries;
  • monitoring of trapping activity in 4 787 trapping sites from 2008 found that only 24.8% of the sites were still active or maintained by 2010;
  • the number of licensed trappers decreased from 4 616 in 2008 to 2 896 in 2010.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


endangered species‚  environmentally responsible behaviour‚  biodiversity‚  public awareness campaign‚  nature conservation

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator BirdLife Malta
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description BirdLife Malta is one of the most important environmental NGOs in Malta, linked to BirdLife International. It usually focuses on environmental education activities, managing protected bird areas, and lobbying for protection of birds.
Partners RSPB, United Kingdom Media Today, Malta


Project reference LIFE07 INF/MT/000554
Duration 01-JAN-2009 to 30-JUN -2011
Total budget 315,794.00 €
EU contribution 157,897.00 €
Project location Malta(Malta)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (EN)
Project web site - 2 Project's Facebook page
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Final technical report


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version