The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

First pair of barn owls announced, named Tyto and Alba

Thursday, 14 January 2021, 13:51 Last update: about 8 days ago

The Barn Owl conservation project has entered its third phase, with the pairing of the first two birds, who have now been named Tyto and Alba.

This was announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia, who explained that this is an important step in a project in favour of our country’s biodiversity, as this species will be reintroduced to the wild through an initiative by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation Malta (FKNK).

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The names derive from the scientific term for the species, Tyto alba.

A livestream of the owls is accessible to everyone at this link.

Minister Farrugia also announced that security in the Buskett area will be heightened through an investment into security cameras by the Ministry. This investment will also ensure that not only are the farmhouse and the birds protected, but also that the entire Buskett area is made more secure, and that crimes and accidents such as littering, theft, fires, and vandalism are avoided.

The investment in security comes after a man was caught on camera trying to break into the enclosure of the project to steal the owls last September. 

The Minister made the announcements during a visit to Razzett tal-Bagħal (The Mule's Farmhouse), a site administered by FKNK, where he participated in an activity to plant a number of indigenous seeds, including carob and aleppo pine collected from Buskett itself.

Minister Farrugia reiterated that environmental conservation and biodiversity protection are two important pillars of a functioning ecosystem. Therefore, it is the government’s duty to invest in these pillars through an investment into preserving our environment and future generations.

The project’s coordinator Lucas Micallef said that this is an important step for our biodiversity. In the coming weeks, we expect, with the assistance of livestreaming, to monitor Tyto and Alba’s behaviour, and look forward to the positive results which will see the barn owl return to the wild.

The barn owl project is supported by the Conservation of Wild Birds Fund for Voluntary Organisations.

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