From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Number of Dalmatian Pelicans at Divjaka Karavasta National Park Reaches 35-year-high

The number of nesting Dalmatian Pelican pairs in the Divjaka Karavasta National Park has reached an all time high in 2020.

According to data from the Albanian Ornithological Society and the park administration, there are a total of 85 nests with eggs and a pair of pelicans this year. This is up from a total of 68 last year and a significant improvement from the record low of 19 between 2001-2004. The previous all-time high was in 1984 when 81 pairs of the birds were observed.

The highest number of birds noted in 35 years, the AOS has said this is due to the hard work of the Regional Administration of Protected Areas Fier, the rangers of the pelican colony and the Divjaka-Karavasta park staff.

The Dalmatian Pelican is one of the world’s largest birds with a weight and length similar to a large swan and a wingspan like that of a great albatross. They fly in flocks and can be found across much of Central Eurasia, the Mediteerranean, the Persian Gulf and even Siberia. They like to nest in low lying freshwater such as swamps and shallow lakes and they favour dense heaps of vegetation for making their nests.

During the 20th century, the species registered a rapid decline in numbers due to their nesting land being disturbed and poaching. Dalmatian Pelicans are very sensitive to human interference and are likely to abandon a nest with eggs if disturbed.

According to the IUCN Red List, the Dalmatian Pelican is considered ‘near threatened’, therefore the big increase in their numbers at Divjaka is a cause for celebration.

The AOS stated:

“Now, all our further efforts for this season should focus on the continued wardening of the colony in order to have a high breeding success or as many young birds as possible. Because the high success of reproduction is the only factor that guarantees the continued growth of the colony in the future.”