Brown pelican off the endangered list

This subject is not exactly politics but I found it interesting.

President Obama and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today that the brown pelican population has sufficiently recovered and has been removed from the endangered species list.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to photograph brown pelicans as they sat on the breakwater of the South Beach marina in San Francisco. We were motoring through the marina on a 34-foot sailboat, and these spectacular birds lined the wall with the San Francisco Bay Bridge in the background. I am a big fan of pelicans of all kinds.

Brown pelican in South Beach marina, San Francisco. Photo by Lisa Vorderbrueggen

Brown pelican in South Beach marina, San Francisco. November 2009. Photo by Lisa Vorderbrueggen

Read on for the full press release.Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement after the Obama Administration announced the brown pelican has been removed from the federal endangered species list.

“The brown pelican is a treasure of the California coast, and the announcement that the species has been able to rebound is exciting, not only for me, but for all who enjoy our coastal wildlife. It is also a testament to the importance of continuing environmental action for the benefit of future generations. By taking action to clean up the pollution that could have caused the extinction of the pelican, we are ensuring our children and grandchildren can experience one of the most majestic birds on the ocean.”

The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to remove the California brown pelican from the state endangered species list at its February 5, 2009 meeting. This was the first time the Commission voted to delist an endangered species because of its recovery. In the 38-year history of the state’s protection of endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, the California brown pelican is the first species to fully recover.

In spite of known threats, the breeding population of brown pelicans in California has increased substantially in recent years. The California brown pelican is designated as a Fully Protected Species under the Fish and Game Code, and that will not change as a result of the delisting. It is still illegal to kill or harm a brown pelican in California.

Recovery efforts in the last three decades have resulted in the seabird again becoming a common resident of the west coast of the U.S., after being reduced to small numbers from the 1960s to 1980s. There are now an estimated 8,500 breeding pairs in the Channel Islands, the only area in California where brown pelicans nest.

While the California brown pelican will no longer be considered endangered, they – like any other wild animal – still must not be harassed or injured by anyone. Seabirds and shorebirds are often seen resting on beaches, islands, estuaries and jetties after spending hours searching for prey to sustain themselves. People who enjoy using those areas should ensure they are not disturbed during these critical resting periods.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen