Endemic lizard ‘has become extinct’

TIMES OF MALTA

The endemic Maltese freshwater crab, known as il-qabru, is under threat because its habitat is being encroached upon by construction, Nature Trust has said.

Speaking ahead of World Environment Day today, the conservation group said the rare crab was also seeing one of the freshwater streams in which it lived quickly drying up “possibly due to over-extraction or re-direction…”

Nature Trust (Malta) chose the occasion to stress the need to do something about biodiversity, pointing out that towards the end of 2008, 64 per cent of natural habitats in the Maltese islands were classified with an “unfavourable status” and just seven per cent with a favourable one. The remaining 29 per cent were unknown, according to the National Statistics Office.

Moreover, a local scientist recently informed Nature Trust that the selmunett lizard, another endemic species, recently became extinct. The NGO considered the report a “big blow to local biodiversity” and called on the government and the Planning Authority to prevent another loss from occurring.

Carmel Cacopardo, AD spokesman on sustainable development, said air quality, energy security and “flawed tendering processes”, depleted water resources. Excessive uncontrolled noise and congested roads were among a list of concerns which had pushed the environment to the top of people’s worries.

He said the government constantly spoke in favour of environmental measures but its actions did not always correspond to its statements. It was not the amount of funds spent which indicated environmental commitment but positive results achieved in addressing environmental problems, he said.

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Filed under animals, biodiversity, conservation, endangered, environment, environmentalism, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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