Please Stop Feeding The Pelicans
Posted by Benjamin Dona on Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 1:01pm.
One of the great things about living in Southwest Florida is being able to enjoy all its wonderful surroundings. However, problems tend to arise when we humans infringe on the natural flow of things. Thankfully, most folks who live here take their responsibility to protect our environment seriously so when things start to get out of hand, they are usually corrected quickly and accordingly. To that end, there's a new rule from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about feeding pelicans. Simply put, "don't do it." Brown pelicans, due to their social nature, can easily become dependent on discarded fish and fish scraps. The birds will often congregate in places where the scraps are readily available and in short order, come to look for the scraps as a major source of food. To counter this problem, the Commission passed a new rule that is intended to stop the feeding of large numbers of pelicans. The new rule states that the intentional feeding or the placement of food that attracts pelicans and modifies their natural behavior so as to be detrimental to the survival or health of a local population is prohibited.
The intent of this rule is not to regulate the occasional or the casual feeding of individual pelicans. For instance, individuals who are out fishing and happen to hand a scrap to a begging pelican will not be cited for their behavior. This rule provides an enforcement tool to resolve situations where large scale feeding could negatively influence the health or survival of the pelican population in general. Under the new rule, it is no longer permissible for organized groups of people or organizations to feed groups of pelicans at regular places and regular times when the pelicans are not restrained or not directly under their care and it is no longer permitted under this rule to dump or discharge large amounts of fish scraps, bycatch or comparable materials from a fish house or similar facility which attracts large numbers of pelicans to that area and causes changes in the behavior of the pelicans.
The bottom line is we all need to do our part. One person feeding a pelican one fish may not harm the bird, but problems do occur when there are many people feeding that same pelican every day. So, pitch in and help where you can. We all can help keep pelican populations healthy and thriving by not feeding them. It's that simple.
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