Today, it’s hard to find a coastal sky that isn’t filled with the Brown Pelican soaring both high and low. To many, they are a symbol of the ocean, the gulf coast and many other waterways. In actuality, it’s only the happy ending to a story that very few know the beginning of. Brown Pelicans nearly disappeared entirely and came face to face with thoughts and conversation surrounding extinction. The introduction and overuse of pesticides wreaked havoc on both adult and unborn Brown Pelicans. In the late 1950’s and early 1970’s ENDRIN and DDT entered the food chain both affecting the bird in different ways. ENDRIN simply killed the Brown Pelican, while DDT led to thin-shelled eggs that were unable to sustain the weight of the parents during incubation and nesting. In 1970 the Brown Pelican was listed as ENDANGERED. The fall of the Pelicans led to the banning of DDT in 1972 and a great reduction in use of ENDRIN, finally allowing this beautiful species to rise again. In addition to being a symbol of the sea, Brown Pelicans are living proof of how successful strong efforts and wildlife conservation can be. They serve as a reminder that we CAN make a difference and no effort is made in vain.
In 2009, the Brown Pelican was DE-LISTED from an endangered status and was considered fully restored.