Join our zoo community

Maltese Collections

Discussion in 'Malta' started by Newzooboy, 15 Jan 2015.

  1. Newzooboy

    Newzooboy Well-Known Member

    21 Nov 2007
    Liss, Hampshire, UK
    Malta don't have a great record with wildlife, captive or otherwise but things are gradually changing.
    The hunters/ bird shooters are becoming a minority and many younger people are starting to appreciate, and want to protect, Malta's natural areas. There are now a number of protected bird reserves for migrating birds on both the main island and on Gozo. Filfla (a small rock like island off the Maltese coast) is 100% protected (no one can visit without a permit and then only biologists to study) and is home to a unique and very large (sub)species of Maltese wall lizard.
    My wife is Maltese so I visit the islands every couple of years or so.
    In terms of captive collections, this amounted for many years to only one - the Mediterraneo Bio Park, which is essentially a dolphinarium with bottlenose dolphins, sealions, a small reptile house (common 'pet shop' species), some tropical birds (mostly parrots) and one or two species of marmoset/ tamarin.
    More recently a number of new animal collections have opened.
    The Malta Falconry Centre at Siggiewi is, in my opinion, the best of these. A wide range of birds of prey are held here, some not often seen, all in large spacious, well furnished aviaries. This establishment has done much for avian conservation in Malta.
    Bird Park Malta houses a very wide range of avian species and some mammals (small mammals mainly but also a male Blackbuck on my visit). Despite a nice open plan enclosure for flamingo, most cages are bare or overcrowded (or both) heavy hard mesh cages. Many of the birds and other residents are former pets or rehabilitation cases but the place is over-stocked and someone really needs to think about cage dressing. Quite the smallest cages for marmosets/ tamarins I’ve ever seen. Not all of the animals appeared in the best of health on my visit.
    The Malta National Aquarium is quite new on the scene. The building is attractive and well designed and the focus is largely on local species, but it somehow has an empty feel at the moment, with much space free and many tanks devoid of many residents. Much potential here though I think. One to watch.
    The MonteKristo Animal Park is historically a domestic animal facility to which more exotic species have been added in recent years. The smaller cages are obviously obtained from the same supplier as the Bird Park and are equally bare. There are larger primates here (Barbary Ape, Hamadryas Baboon, Patas Monkey), lemurs, marmosets, tamarins, various birds, hoofstock (Barbary Sheep, Red Lechwe, Sitatunga, Eland), a single adult African Lion and 2 cubs, as well as 4 tiger cubs (from where these animals have come I know not but I fear for them as they grow). As has been noted on the gallery, this place gives one the impression of stepping back in time and is frankly pretty awful.
    Finally there is the Wildlife Park Malta, which I have never visited on advice from those that have and by all accounts is much worse than all of the above, with an unfortunate focus on big cats and a bear in tiny cages/ pens. This place is linked to a restaurant and appears to be designed to provide an added attraction to diners. I was advised to avoid both.
  2. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    10 Dec 2012
    fijnaart, the netherlands
    Thanks for this intresting overview newzooboy ! For such a small Island it's quite a number of collections and lets hope the bad ones will improve over time !