The Yelkouan Shearwater (Garnija), a seabird that has been the focus of two EU LIFE Projects in Malta, has been classified as 'vulnerable', a higher category of threat to its previous conservation status in the 2012 Red List update for birds.

The list is drawn up by BirdLife International for the Union for the Conservation of Nature.

BirdLife Malta said in a statement that the Maltese archipelago is home to an estimated 10 per cent of the world population of Yelkouan Shearwater.

Until recently the populations were in decline in Malta as well but this trend was reversed due to the Yelkouan Shearwater Project that ended in 2010.

"The success story for Yelkouans in Malta is a clear indicator of the effectiveness of nature conservation on a national scale. To reverse the population decline on regional or global level, similar efforts to that in Malta are needed," Laura Bambini, LIFE+ Malta Seabird project manager said.

This year, BirdLife Malt,a together with the Ministry for the Environment, launched the EU LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project to identify areas out at sea that are important to Malta's seabirds, including the Yelkouan Shearwater, to further protect these seabirds and the marine environment.

BirdLife Malta and the Environment Ministry are also continuing with the previously established conservation actions of the LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project at the Rdum tal-Madonna Natura2000 site which is home to the biggest colony of Yelkouan Shearwaters in the Maltese islands.

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