In reference to the letter Hunting: Effects Of The Ban (May 23) by Publio Danny Rosso, BirdLife Malta would like to clarify that it has never endorsed any boycott against Malta. On the contrary, BirdLife Malta has encouraged and supported birdwatchers and eco-tourists to visit the Maltese islands.

It is our duty to work for the enhancement and protection of wild birds and their habitat on the Maltese islands.

As a conservation organisation, we encourage fellow conservationists, both local and foreign, to help us in our varied work and, we are happy to say, our invitations to esteemed colleagues overseas have been taken up regularly.

Proof of this is the hundreds of ornithologists and volunteers who visit us every year from countries as far apart as the UK, Israel, Finland, and New Zealand.

In fact, it would be fair to say that BirdLife Malta has actually aided tourism on these islands as many foreign ornithologists used to regard Malta as a black spot and would never have visited due to the scale of illegal hunting. But after responding to BirdLife's call to come to Malta and see the beauty of the Maltese islands and what they had to offer and finally realising that an overwhelming majority of Maltese are against illegal hunting and spring hunting, most became ambassadors for Malta and are currently promoting Malta as a destination to visit and witness the phenomenon of bird migration.

The people who damage Malta's reputation are not conservationists, nor tourists who complain about witnessing aggressive hunters and illegally shot birds, nor the police force which is doing its job, but those who break the law by illegally occupying Maltese countryside and shooting at protected species.

The claim made by Mr Rosso in his letter regarding BirdLife ever encouraging a tourism boycott could therefore not be further from the truth and we trust that this letter helps to clarify the matter. We invite everyone to visit our website to personally read the testimonies of some of our international volunteers who have come to Malta.

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