Conservation of spot billed pelican (Pelecanus philipensis) in north central and central provinces of Sri Lanka

Kanchana Weeracoon Ranasinge

Spot Billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) is one of the important bird species categorised as vulnerable and the only known present day breeding populations occur in Sri Lanka, India and Cambodia (Threatened birds of Asia, the Birdlife International Red Data Book). According to the Asian Red data book, this species in Sri Lanka is under threat due to the loss of habitat, disturbances to breeding sites, cutting of Mangroves and excessive fishing and hunting. We have also gathered reliable data on hunting of this species. This practice is due to ignorance, as they have not had adequate information on the bird. There are some field records of Spot Billed Pelican in Central (CP) and North Central provinces (NCP) of Sri Lanka but no systematic study has been carried out. A strong awareness programme for the local community including fishermen, farmers, people who are involved in aquaculture projects and other community members is important to mitigate some of the threats and ultimately to find solutions to conserve this bird species. An awareness campaign will also be designed for government officials, armed forces, and school children to create awareness and get the support of these groups in this project. Mainly two methods will be carried out during the project—field visits to gather data and an awareness programme. The ultimate goal of the project is to find out the present situation of the Spot Billed Pelican in these provinces and to contribute this data to Sri Lanka’s IBA programme.

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