Joe Sultana, one of the great personalities of the BirdLife partnership and one of the most effective and passionate defenders of birds and the environment of his beloved Malta, passed away in early September, at the age of 78.
Joe was a real force of (and for) nature, with an infectious enthusiasm and energy that was felt well beyond the confines of the Maltese islands. He was one of the founding fathers and leading lights of BirdLife International for many years.
“Joe Sultana was a real giant of the BirdLife world, and it was always a pleasure to meet up with him at BirdLife meetings. Malta and Cyprus share many bird-related problems, so we always had a lot to talk about. Joe will be very much missed and his contribution to the cause of bird protection should never be underestimated,” said BirdLife Cyprus Chairman Melis Charalambides.
Born in Xaghra to a hunting family, Joe Sultana became Secretary of the Malta Ornithological Society in 1967 and later President up the organization, now BirdLife Malta. Joe was also Chairman of BirdLife International between 1985 and 1992 and a recognized ornithologist with many publications to his name, including the ‘Guide To The Birds of Malta’ in 1975, and more recently, the ‘History of Ornithology in Malta’.
Joe – the father of BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana- received many awards in recognition of his achievements, including the Maltese publication award (1975), the Maltese literacy award, the RSPB medal (1996), honorary life membership to the British Ornithologist Union (1999) and membership of honour to BirdLife International (1999).