Two men arrested for running into turtle nest enclosure

Updated 10:09 PM
Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Two men were arrested on Tuesday afternoon, after they ran into the enclosure which was set up to protect the loggerhead’s nest in Għadira Bay.

A police spokesperson said that the report was filed around 4pm. He added that two men had breached the outer enclosure made of netting. The turtle eggs are believed to be safe since they did not breach the inner enclosure which is protecting the eggs.

The men were arrested by the Rapid Intervention Unit.

The President of Nature Trust Malta, Vincent Attard, has condemned the action, and stated that they are “shocked at their behaviour”. On behalf of Nature Trust, he thanked ERA, the Police and the MTA for their fast action.

Two separate turtles laid eggs at Għadira Bay this year. The first nesting was in July while the second nesting was earlier this month.

There are currently four loggerhead turtles nest around Malta and Gozo – two at Għadira Bay, one at Ramla l-Ħamra in Gozo and one at Golden Bay. Over 60 loggerhead turtles hatched at Ramla l-Ħamra at the beginning of the month.

The destruction of eggs or taking of eggs from the wild is strictly prohibited and constitutes a criminal offence. The national ‘Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations’ sets a minimum fine of almost €500 and can go up to nearly €2,400 for each egg that may be destroyed or taken from the wild.

The area where the loggerhead turtles has laid its eggs is also a protected area under the Environment Protection Act (Cap. 549) and a Natura 2000 site through the EU Habitats Directive.

Any illegality should be reported immediately to ERA on 99210404 or email: ced.nature@era.org.mt.