Culture Minister backtracks on shark tooth reclamation

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Culture Minister José Herrera appears to have backtracked in trying to reclaim a 23-million year-old fossilized shark tooth presented to Britain’s Prince George last week.

The move comes following international criticism when it was reported that Malta might seek to reclaim the giant shark tooth which was presented to Prince George by Sir David Attenborough. The veteran broadcaster gave the gift to the young royal when he visited Kensington Palace to watch his latest documentary with the Duke of Cambridge.

In his reply to the Times of Malta on Monday, Minister Herrera said that he would “get the ball rolling” after he was asked whether there were plans to add the find to Malta’s collections since it was discovered in the country.

A spokesperson for the Ministry for Culture told that the ministry would not seek to reclaim the fossil which once belonged to a megalodon, an extinct species of giant shark.

The spokesperson remarked that Malta’s history and its geological formations spanning millions of years makes the island a unique historical and cultural landmark.

“Although Malta’s national collection of historic artefacts is an extensive one, as showcased in various museums and heritage sites, one must note that there are numerous other artefacts of a considerate value that originally belonged to Malta which are currently in different countries,” the spokesperson said.

“As a nation we are extremely fond of our history and hence through our national heritage agencies we are always actively looking at avenues to acquire artefacts that have intrinsic value to the Maltese Islands.”

The Minister does not intend to pursue the matter any further.