The first nationwide census of pelicans was held successfully in 30 wetlands in the country. This action was an initiative of the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) and the Society of the Protection of Prespa (SPP) and involved the inventory of the two species of pelicans: the globally endangered Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus Crispus) and White Pelican (Pelecanus Onocrotalus), species present and nest in Greece.

The census was done in collaboration with ten of Protected Areas Management Organizations: M.O in the Evros Delta, M.O in Nestos Delta, Bistonida-Ismarida, M.O Koronia-Bolbis Lakes, M.O Kerkini’s Lake, M.O Axios- Loudias-Aliakmona’s Delta, M.O of Prespa’s National Park, M.O of Pamvotida’s Lake, M.O of Karla- Mavrovounio – Kefalovrysou – Velestinou, M.O of Ambracian wetlands, M.O of Kotyxiou-Strofylias wetlands, M.O of Messolongi Lagoon. Overall, in the recording were involved more than 40 people, members of Organizations Management, members of two NGOs and observers volunteers.

The aim of the census was to measure the total number of pelicans using the Wetlands of Greece during the breeding season. The data obtained contribute to the planning of protective measures, conservation and management of pelicans in the country, which is especially important in the case of Dalmatian Pelican. It is a kind of international interest for which Greece carries great responsibility, as it hosts at the Little Prespa lake the largest colony of its kind in the world (about 1200 pairs) and nationally more than 25% of world population.

A total of 3564 Pelicans were recorded in 16 wetlands  in the country and 684 Pelicans in 9 wetlands, while the presence of both species was recorded in 8 of the 30 wetlands which held the census. Great importance to the protection and conservation of the two species have the wetlands where they breed (Lake Prespa, Wetlands Ambracian, Earthscapes, Messolonghi lagoon, and savings Karla), and where, as expected, there were significant numbers. Particular reference should be made to the most recent, established colony of the Dalmatian Pelican, that one in Karla’s savings. The area had great importance to Dalmatian Pelicans, but maintaining their reproduction will be ensured there only when the savings will  be fully restored, as in a few months the existing island of nesting will stop to exist because of the rising level.
At the same time, our inventory revealed the very important role of some wetlands, which are used as feeding grounds and roosting by a large number of pelicans. The wetlands are located in relatively close proximity to breeding sites and contribute significantly to meet the increased needs of food during the breeding season. Such are the lakes of Western Macedonia- Vegoritida, Cheimaditida, and the savings of Polyfytos, the lake Volvi at the Central Macedonia, Kotychi and Prokopou lagoons in Western Peloponnese. Furthermore, these wetlands are safe and rich food zones with living and non- breeding individuals. Moreover, some of them probably also be future nesting sites for both species.
From the first Nationwide Census Pelicans became the imperative for integrated protection and proper management of all wetlands in the country, these highly productive and rich in biodiversity ecosystems that provide numerous goods and services to humans.

All the stakeholders organizations and NGOs look to repeat the census the subsequent years.
For more information:
Marianna Vlassis, Head of Communications and Fundraising, Society for the Protection of Prespa, 6947692357.
Roula Trigou, Coordinator of Public Awareness Conservation Actions, Greek Ornithological Society, 2108227937.
Nationwide census of pelicans for the first time Pavlos

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