Californian brown pelicans are in trouble again

Californian brown pelicans are in trouble again

California's brown pelicans, which were delisted from the U. S. Endangered Species list in 2009, are once again in trouble, a newly released annual population survey report suggests.

The survey led University of California Davis, a global community of individuals united to protect natural world, monitored pelicans' breeding colonies in Mexico's Gulf of California, and found that areas that normally host hundreds or thousands of pelicans' nesting pairs held none at all this year.

At Isla Piojo, the researchers found just 70 nesting pairs and zero offspring in 2014, as compared with 600 nesting pairs and nearly 660 young ones in 2006.

Gulf of California accounts for 90 per cent of pelicans' nests, where these birds breed and rear their offspring. The remaining 10 per cent of the population breed and rear their offspring in the Channel Islands in Southern California.

Researchers often link low breeding numbers with El Nino conditions, which are responsible for bringing warmer waters to the Eastern Pacific Ocean. But, this year the pelicans started showing signs of low breeding ahead of El Nino period.

Anderson, who has been monitoring pelicans for more than four decades, called the drastic decline in pelicans' breeding numbers as a 'failure'. Speaking on the topic, he said, "During most El Niño events we have seen, numbers of nesting attempts drop by at least half to two-thirds, and production goes down, too. But it drops from thousands to hundreds, not to 10 or less."

The survey was primarily funded by the Davis-based California Institute of Environmental Studies.

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