Protecting the Great White Pelican and Mitigating Conflict with Fisheries

Timeframe: 2013
Country/Region: Israel, Middle East
Partner: Israel Nature & Parks Authority // Keren Hayesod

The Great White Pelican (GWP) (Pelecanus onocrotalus) is the largest bird in the world to perform the long cross-desert migration to East Africa. Many have vanished due to drainage of wetlands, disturbance and persecution, overexploitation of fish stocks, pesticides, as well as electrocution and trauma from electric power lines. These existing threats and the small population sizes endanger the GWP in many parts of the world and, despite being protected under several international agreements, law enforcement is poor in most countries where pelicans breed, migrate or winter.

Many stopover and feeding wetlands along the migration routes of the GWP between SE Europe and Africa have been seriously degraded or have disappeared. This has changed the ecology of these birds with serious implications for their populations and for the aquaculture and fish farms in Israel. Israel is the first (relatively) protected stopover on the migratory route, with sufficient feeding resources and conditions. However, the geographic location and available fish biomass of aquatic habitats in Israel can no longer supply the GWP with adequate rest and energetic refuelling.

The NPA currently supplies more than 100 tons of non-commercial fish to enable the GWP to refuel and complete its fall migration, and to reduce conflict with inland fisheries.

The purpose of this project is:

  • To support the supplementary feeding for the migratory GWP
  • To track the GWP with GPS to obtain a clearer picture of the current situation for feeding, resting and nesting along the entire migratory route
  • To shed light on the problems that the GWP faces on its journey
  • To evaluate the efficiency and outcomes of different support strategies
  • To share information and establish problem-solving strategies through a workshop for professionals and government officials representing countries along the entire migratory path.