Monday 24 September 2018

Vodafone Malta Foundation sponsors Wildlife Rescue Team

Vodafone Malta Foundation recently supplied Nature Trust’s Wildlife Rescue Team with much needed equipment to help make their work safer and easier.  The Wildlife Rescue team has been operating on the Maltese Islands for over 10 years, initially attending to the transportation of marine turtles and assisting with rescuing stranded dolphins.

Nowadays the team carries out the full service of rescuing, transporting and rehabilitating marine turtles, hedgehogs, bats, chameleons, snakes and other local endangered wildlife.  The team is made up of a rescue team of 30 volunteers including marine biologists and veterinarians and the turtle rehabilitation team consists of 5 volunteers.

At present, injured and sick turtles are rehabilitated at San Lucjan Tower with the kind permission and support of the Malta Aquaculture Research Centre and the veterinarian surgeon Dr Anthony Gruppetta, while the hedgehogs are rehabilitated at the Wied Ghollieqa Hedgehog rehab site with the help of  Dr Luke Sultana and Dr Teresa Yam.

Nature Trust is now working to increase its operations and further its professional approach towards Wildlife Rescue.  The NGO is now collecting funds for its Xrobb L-Ghagin phase two project where all wildlife rehabilitation will come under one roof, for more control and standards.

As part of its improvement Nature Trust was in need of rescue equipment like carrying boxes for injured turtles, a turtle stretcher, carrying boxes for injured hedgehogs, information leaflets to help raise awareness and other medical material to help it in its work and also to aid in reducing stress to the animal while being rescued, since most frequently the animal will be in a traumatic state.  This year the volunteers had an influx of injured turtles and hedgehogs after the NGO raised awareness in the media about the need to protect these endangered animals.  This increased work led the Vodafone Malta Foundation to offer its support to the NGO, where it funded the purchase of  all the necessary equipment, including a video camera for recording data.

“Vodafone Malta Foundation’s investment in the environment and the Maltese natural habitat is an integral part of our identity,” said Gemma Mifsud Bonnici, Chairperson at Vodafone Malta Foundation. “It is so positive to see such NGOs actively work in the community. It is only through such initiatives that such habitat can be protected for future generations.”

The team is now able to carry large and heavy turtles with ease, considering that some weigh around 70kg.  ‘The team is thrilled to have been provided with this valuable equipment, as an NGO we are grateful for the support we received from the Vodafone Malta Foundation,’ said Vincent Attard Executive President of Nature Trust (Malta).  He added “This is a truly appreciated CSR gesture and it is the injured animals that will benefit from the new equipment.”  Mr Attard concluded that the support of the Vodafone Malta Foundation is also an encouragement to the volunteers to keep up the great work they are doing in their free time towards wildlife rehabilitation.

“I would like to thank the Vodafone Foundation for their interest in helping Nature Trust Malta in the Animal Welfare sector. The Government is doing its utmost and ready to continue giving it’s support within the Animal Welfare, including support to local NGOs like Nature Trust,” said Hon. Roderick Galdes MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights.

The Wildlife Rescue Team cares for around 25 marine turtles and 15 hedgehogs a year and this amount is increasing annually.  The team and the veterinarians work on a voluntary basis and the public can help by giving donations for the upkeep and medical supplies needed for these animals.



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