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1501 Dalmatians

Romania`s Pelican Island Saved

The island nesting place of Europe`s third largest colony of Dalmatian Pelicans has been saved. Ceaplace Island on Romania`s Lake Sinoe, in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, was being rapidly eroded by waves and ice, losing three-quarters of its area in the last two years. The total European breeding population of Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus is fewer than 1,500 pairs and the species has recently been upgraded to Vulnerable following declines across most of its range. 84 pairs bred on the island in 2004, but a further 70-80 nests were swept away. Now, thanks to funding from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF), the RSPB and private donations, a wooden wall has been built which will enable the island to recover.

The island will recover the lost ground due to the sediment silting, which was formerly washed away by waves. The third largest colony of Dalmatian Pelicans in Europe will have their breeding site preserved. said B?lint N Mikl?s, SOR Conservation Assistant. In August the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR, BirdLife in Romania) started a fundraising campaign. The RSPB pledged ?2000 of the estimated ?5000 needed, but as autumn wore on, it seemed the opportunity to protect the island in time for next year`s breeding pelicans had been lost. SOR believed that after the end of October, the weather would be too rough for work on the wall to take place. Meanwhile, the Florida-based DWCF was struggling with more local problems, in the wake of this year`s hurricanes. Disney`s money arrived in the last week of October, and work began in November, using acacia trunks and willow coppice. SOR Conservation Assistant B?lint N. Mikl?s was helped by a team of seven local people, and a representative of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority, engineer Bahaciu Nicolae. Despite the bad weather, with frequent storms and low temperatures, the wall was successfully completed.

SOR and BirdLife would like to express their gratitude for the effort of all organisations and people that gave a helping hand to save these pelicans. Many thanks to Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, The RSPB, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority (ARBDD), the Governor of ARBDD ? Virgil Munteanu, Bahaciu Nicolae, and our supporter from the US ? Suzanne Barnhart.

4th July 2014