Joe Sultana – Ornithologist/Naturalist/Nature Conservationist
Born Xaghra, Gozo 11.11.1939. Married to Lucy , 2 children Ruth and Mark, 4 grand-children Luke, Zack, Sarah and Leander.
Educated at the Gozo Lyceum and at St. Michael’s College of Education. After 18 years teaching in primary and secondary schools, was appointed head at Villa Psaigon Field Studies Centre (1977-1980) with the Education Department; Conservation Officer (1981-92), Head/Environment Manager of Reserves, Sites and Habitats (1993-94), Principal Environment Officer (1995-2000), and adviser to the Minister for the Environment on nature reserves (2001-2002).
Posts held included Member of the Planning Areas Permits Board (1990-91), Member of the Board of Directors of the Planning Authority (1992-1997), Board Member of the Development Control Commission (1992-1997), Technical Adviser on the Ornis Committee (2003-2004) and Chairman of Ornis Committee (2005-2006).
Posts held with NGOs: Secretary (1967-75), President (1976-87) and Council Member (1988-2004) of the Malta Ornithological Society/BirdLife Malta. Chairman (1985-1992) of the European Section of ICBP (now BirdLife International). World Council Member (1994-1999)of BirdLife International. Chairman of Council (1995 to 2011) of Medmaravis (Association of Mediterranean Sea-bird enthusiasts).
Council of Europe appointments included Chairman of Naturopa Centre (1987-88), Malta’s representative on the Steering Committee on Conservation and Management of the Environment and Natural Habitats (1982-94), Member of the Organising Committee for European Conservation year 1995 (1993-1995), and on site appraisal reporter for Fair Isle, UK and Lake Vistonida, Greece (2000), Selvagem Islands (2001 and 2011), Matsalu Nature Reserve, Estonia (2002), and Kuscenneti National Park, Turkey (2003, 2005 and 2010).
International Consultant of UNEP’s Regional Activity Centre/Specially Protected Areas (Tunisia) in various nature conservation projects (2001-2003); and of the Instituteof Environmental Managementand Assessment (IEMA) Lincoln, UKin environmental surveys carried out at Akrotiri Salt Lake, Cyprus(2001-2003).
Author, co-author or editor of various publication: Bird Studies on Filfla (1970); A Guide to the Birds of Malta (1975); L-Agħsafar (1975); A New Guide to the Birds of Malta (1982); Localities with conservation values (1987); Red Data Book for the Maltese Islands ((1989); Important Sea Bird Sites in the Mediterranean (1993); Wildlife of the Maltese Islands (1996); Monitoring and Conservation of Birds, Mammals and Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean and Black Seas (2000); Bil-Bejta (1999); L-Ghasafar ta’ Malta (2001); Nature in Gozo (2007); Malta Breeding Birds Atlas 2008 (2009);The Breeding Birds of Malta (2011); Ecology and Conservation of Mediterranean Seabirds (2012); as well as several ornithological and nature conservation papers and regular contributor to Il-Merill – ornithological journal (1970 to date).
Was awarded the Gouden Lepelaar by Vogelbescherming of the Netherlands(1993), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Medal (1996), Honorary Life Membership by the British Ornithologists Union (1999) and Membership of Honour by BirdLife International (1999) for outstanding service to ornithology and bird conservation. Awards for publications included Best Maltese Publication Award (L-Agħsafar) – 1975, and Malta’s Literary Award (A New Guide to the Birds of Malta) 1982.
Other involvements included the setting up of Malta’s Bird Ringing Scheme (1965), the setting up of Għadira Nature Reserve (1980) and of Simar Nature Reserve (1993); Legislation for the official declarations of Filfla (1987), St. Paul’s Islands (1991) and Fungus Rock (1991) as strict nature reserves; Legislation of bird protection laws in 1980, 1993 and 2006, Organisation of regular ornithological and environmental surveys on Filfla (1968 – 2011) and of Fungus Rock (1988 – 2004); Participation in various environmental and nature conservation, and ornithological, symposia, and television and radio programmes; and Production of two TV series on nature conservation (1980-1981).