Save Brown Pelicans from Extinction

Brown Pelican

Target: Director of Fish and Wildlife Department Charlton H. Bonham

Goal: Initiate a plan to monitor brown pelicans and ensure their survival in the wild

The brown pelican was removed from the Endangered Species List five years ago, and despite laws that demand a monitoring system to ensure that the birds don’t go back into a fragile state, no plan has not set in motion. There is still evidence of the birds struggling to survive, and humans could aid their numbers if a monitoring plan was put in place.

The brown pelican has been struggling for survival since the 19th and 20th century when egg collectors, hunters, and the millinery industry sought the eggs, meat, and feathers for profit. The slaughter severely reduced their numbers in 1900, resulting in the pelicans and other birds becoming the first animals to be federally protected by law. Soon afterwards, a wildlife refuge was established to protect these birds. However even with environmental laws protecting them, the pelicans still suffered. The widespread use of DDT, a harmful pesticide used in the 1940s and 1950s, led to the thinning of pelican eggs. Eggs were accidentally stepped on and crushed by pelicans who were trying desperately to protect their offspring, leading to a massive plummet in their numbers. In 1970, the brown pelican were listed as an endangered species.

Pelican populations were recently reported to be rebounding, but de-listing an animal from the Endangered Species List does not mean the animal is out of the danger zone. Pelicans in California are struggling to find food, and animal hospitals sometimes find them in parking lots, strewn on freeways, or worse, dying or arriving at a hospital injured. Some blame the weather, lack of sardines, and other unknown variables for their struggle, but the government is supposed to know the state of these birds. The law mandates a monitoring system that would ensure these birds don’t return to a fragile state and a draft system was even made in 2009, but nothing has been done. Sign this petition and urge California’s Fish and Wildlife Department to monitor the brown pelican so they don’t return to the Endangered Species List.


Dear Charlton H. Bonham,

I am writing this letter to you about the plight of the brown pelican, who recently was removed from the Endangered Species List. The law mandates a monitoring system be in place to ensure that these birds don’t return to a fragile state, but I have not seen a plan in place. Such a plan was drafted in 2009, but never came to fruition due to a lack of funds.

I know brown pelicans do not have the same popularity as our tigers, lions, wolves, or polar bears, but they are still valuable to our ecosystems. The planet needs them for other species to thrive and maintain balance, and I’m urging you as the director of California’s Fish and Wildlife Department to devise a monitoring plan for the brown pelican. These birds deserve protection after the decades of struggle the species has endured.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dick Daniels via Wikimedia

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