Original Articles

Conservation of an increasing population of great white pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus in South Africa's Western Cape

Published in: South African Journal of Marine Science
Volume 15, issue 1, 1995 , pages: 33–42
DOI: 10.2989/02577619509504831


Unlike many pelican populations, that of the great white pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus in the Western Cape, South Africa, has increased in size, from 20–30 pairs in the first half of the century to over 500 in 1993. The population increase in the past 10 years was too fast to be explained solely by breeding production; immigration also may have been involved. Increased number of coastal water bodies, some stocked with introduced fish, availability of agricultural offal, and lack of disturbance at the breeding site on Dassen Island likely contributed to the population increase. Dassen Island and a number of the coastal water bodies where pelicans roost and forage in the Western Cape are now proclaimed nature reserves. It is suggested that the few important water bodies not yet afforded legal protection should also be proclaimed. Research is needed on the role of offal in the diet and to show whether there has been immigration of pelicans from areas outside the Western Cape.

Get new issue alerts for South African Journal of Marine Science