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Conservation success for Dalmatian Pelicans at Skader Lake

The visually very striking Dalmatian Pelican faced substantial population decline during the 19th and 20th centuries. It was therefore classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List and protected under the Convention on Migratory Species, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and Bern Convention and the European Birds Directive.

A crucial conservation zone around a key Dalmatian Pelican nesting area on the shores of the Skader Lake in southern Montenegro was established. The French NGO Noé Conservation took the administrative lead and CMS funded the project through its Small Grant Programme.

For the Skadar Lake colony, an 80% decrease in population since the 1970s sparked the need for significant conservation action. This was particularly important given the species' significance as the emblem for the Skadar Lake National Park and a biodiversity indicator for the ecological health of the lake.

The Dalmatian Pelicans in this area face several man-made and natural pressures. One prominent natural threat is the flooding of nests after heavy rains. To mitigate this threat, four nest rafts were successfully designed and deployed in the Pelicans’ habitat to allow the nests to safely rise and fall with the changing water level.

A key human threat was effectively addressed through deploying buoys as a boundary marker for the protection zone accompanied by awareness-raising activities such as local community meetings and TV appearances. A lack of clear boundaries had let local fishermen continue to exercise prohibited activities inside the protection zone.

After the buoys were damaged by vandalism, a new approach brought together local fishing associations, scientific experts, conservation managers and other local institutions to discuss solutions in a planning workshop. As a result, a new zonation plan was developed and implemented ensuring the protection of key nesting sites by minimizing the impacts of fishing activities.

The project offers an inspiring example of the use of participatory planning to shift stakeholders from opposition to a cooperative interaction with conservation efforts.

For more information:

Related links:
Participatory Planning Achieves Conservation Success for Dalmatian Pelicans
Dalmatian Pelican
CMS Small Grants Programme

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