A.P: Mass mortality of spot-billed pelicans

Andhra Pradesh State Forest Department has approached experts from Wildlife Institute of India (WII-Deharadun), Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI-Kolkata), for preventing mass mortality of spot-billed pelicans in Naupada swamp at Telineelapuram, Srikakulam district.

Key points

  • Telineelapuram is a designated Important Bird Area (IBA), where pelicans have been succumbing to ‘Nematode infestation’ since December 2021.
  • It is also home to painted stork. However, Stork has not been infected with Nematode infestation so far.

What is the issue?

  • At least five spot-billed pelicans are dying every day, on an average, at Telineelapuram.
  • Total death toll has crossed 160.
  • 180 more adult species are surviving along with their chicks. They are expected to be homebound by mid-Summer.

Spot-billed Pelicans

The spot-billed pelicans or grey pelican are scientifically called as Pelecanus philippensis. They are a member of pelican family. The species breed in South Asia from southern Iran to east India to Indonesia. The bird lives in coastal waters and large inland, especially large lakes. Breeding population of these species is limited to India, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. In non-breeding season they are recorded in Myanmar, Nepal, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

IUCN status

IUCN red list has listed the species in Near Threatened list. While in Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, it is a Schedule IV species. Thus, it hunting is prohibited but penalty for any violation is less.

About Pelicans

Pelicans are a genus of large water birds. They make up the family Pelecanidae. The birds are characterized by a long beak and large throat pouch, which they use to catch prey and drain water from scooped-up contents before swallowing. There are eight living pelican species across the globe. They are distributed latitudinally from tropics to the temperate zone.

About Naupada

Naupada is a village in Santha Bommali mandal of Srikakulam district. It is located near palasa town in Andhra Pradesh. The village is famous for salt fields and is known as “Salt Bowl of Andhra Pradesh”. It is also known for its railway junction station.

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