Score a Win for the Pelican
Much like with its death-defying dives for fish, the brown pelican has resurfaced after plummeting to the brink of extinction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services announced last winter that they are taking the bird off the endangered-species list, after a nearly four-decade struggle to keep the brown pelican population afloat. The bird—now prevalent across Florida, the Gulf and Pacific Coasts, and the Caribbean—was declared endangered in 1970, after its population was said to be decimated by the use of DDT. The pesticide, which the pelican consumed by eating tainted fish, led the bird to lay eggs with shells so thin that they broke during incubation. The pelican’s recovery is largely due to a 1972 ban on DDT, coupled with efforts by states and conservation groups to protect its nesting sites and monitor its population.