Minister for Environment Prof John Cortes this week opened a two day workshop at the University of Gibraltar on the biodiversity of Windmill Hill Flats. This project was successful in its bid for UK Government funds under the Darwin Plus programme. It is led by Prof Julia Fa, Research Fellow of the University, with participation from many experts and stakeholders, including the University of Gibraltar, the University of Malaga, the University of Aukland, the University degli Studi Roma Tre, Gibraltar’s Department of the Environment and Climate Change, the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, GONHS, ESG and Save Gibraltar Street Cats.
Windmill Hill, which is protected as part of the Gibraltar Nature Reserve, and as part of an Emerald Site under the Bern Convention, is a military training area that is unique in Gibraltar, and important in the region, for its biodiversity. It holds a number of plants and habitats unique in Gibraltar, some of international importance, is the main nesting site for the Barbary partridge, and by far the most important location for observation of migrating songbirds in Gibraltar and the surrounding area.
The project aims to study the natural environment of the site, identify its threats, propose solutions and consider the possibility of re-introducing animals lost is the past, such as the Ocellated Lizard.
Minister Cortes commented: “This is the first time in over a decade that Gibraltar has succeeded in obtaining UK funds for a research and conservation project in Gibraltar, as part of the Darwin Plus initiative aimed at Overseas Territories. The project bring together ran impressive group of experts from Gibraltar and around the world, with the aim of studying and improving this gem of Gibraltar’s natural environment. I am very pleased to support it, and excited to also be part of the scientific team working on it!”