WASHINGTON (CN) – The brown pelican has completed a forty year journey from near extinction to full recovery according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will remove the bird from the Endangered Species List.
The brown pelican, the state bird of Louisiana, was hunted for its feathers for use in the millinery trade and was so popular that President Theodore Roosevelt created the first national wildlife refuge to protect the bird in 1903.
In the 1970’s the pesticides DDT and dieldrin threatened even protected populations in national wildlife refuges, which led to a federal ban on the pesticides’ use in 1972.
The brown pelican population has soared from a low of around 10,000 at the time it was given protected status, to an estimated 650,000 today. The brown pelican remains protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.