WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) — U.S. officials Wednesday removed the brown pelican from the list of threatened and endangered species.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam Hamilton made the announcement.
“At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened, we once in a while have an opportunity to celebrate an amazing success story,” Salazar said. “Today is such a day. The brown pelican is back!”
The brown pelican was first declared endangered in 1970. But since then, thanks to a ban on DDT and efforts by states, conservation organizations, private citizens and many other partners, the bird has recovered, officials said.
There are now more than 650,000 brown pelicans found across Florida and the Gulf and Pacific Coasts, as well as in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The Fish and Wildlife Service removed the brown pelican in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and northward along the Atlantic Coast states from the list of endangered species in 1985. Wednesday’s action removes the remaining population from the list.
Federal officials said the pelican’s recovery is largely due to the 1971 federal ban on the general use of the pesticide DDT. That action followed former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” that alerted the nation to the widespread dangers associated with unrestricted pesticide use.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International