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Conservation Facts

Population: 420.499
Total Area: 316 km2
Population density: 1.318 per km2
Protected Area: 18%
Nature Reserves: 28
Largest Nature reserve: Ghadira 0.06 km2

Resident Photographers:

Visiting Photographers:

Solvin Zankl

Malta Galleries

Most possibly Maltese Dwarf elephants were still roaming the archipelago when the first settlers, stone-age hunters and farmers, set foot on the islands more than 7.500 years ago. Since then the impact of man on nature in Malta increased steadily. Nowadays conservation organisations are working hard to protect what is left – on land and in the sea.

Acclaimed the “Best diving site of the Mediterranean” the offshore waters of Gozo attract thousands of divers and snorkelers every year. Some sites are still teeming with barracudas, amberjacks, dentex and large groupers. Tiny sea-horses, many species of small fish and crustaceans call the endangered underwater Posidonia meadows their home.
Inaccessible and of no economic interest, the coastal cliffs around the 300 km2 of the archipelago, served as a refuge for specially adapted plant species, some of which are endemic to Malta. In nature reserves like Majjistral, the Maltese Rock-centaury and the Maltese Salt-tree can still be found in good numbers. Other habitats include the “Garrigue” – the Mediterranean Heath – and the “Macquis” with the national tree, the Sandarac Gum Tree, a kind of juniper.
12.000 years ago the Maltese archipelago was still attached to Sicily and therefore shares similar vegetation. Among the 1.000 vascular plant species, 800 are indigenous. One of the 200 that has been introduced is the Cape Sorrel, a native of South Africa. From Malta’s Botanical garden it colonized the rest of Europe along the Atlantic coast as far North as the British Isles.
Competition for space is immense and causes severe problems for wildlife and nature on Malta. 400.000 + inhabitants mean more than 1.300 people per square kilometre. Almost 16.000 have a hunting or trapping license, posing an immense threat to at least 75 of the 389 bird species that have been recorded on Malta, especially raptors and passerines. For despite its small size Malta has an international importance and responsibility as a stepping stone for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds on the central European-Africa flyway.