Brown Pelican Monitoring
Following reports that the local population of Brown Pelican had greatly diminished, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation recently carried out a year-long study to find out more about the Brown Pelican’s status. Information was gathered on the Brown Pelican’s population size, its nesting habits, its diet as well as its threats, with the aim of better managing and protecting the island’s national bird.
The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is one of St. Maarten’s national symbols, the depiction of which can be found on the island’s Flag and Coat of Arms. The bird also lends its name to various businesses and institutions on the island but despite this there was previously very little information publicly on the status of Pelicans on St. Maarten. The Nature Foundation therefore decided that in order to properly conserve and manage this culturally important species there was a need to collect vital information on nesting areas, how many pelicans we still have left, and what type of threats the bird faces. Research has shown that the pelican population has severely decreased over the last few decades. The health of St. Maarten’s pelicans also reflects the general health of the marine ecosystem; with more pelicans present the better the environment.
The monitoring is usually carried out from St. Maarten’s Day the 11th of November until December.