Injured Pelican Rescued on Thursday

Struck by Jet Ski on Great Bay Beach

On Thursday the Nature Foundation was alerted by the Police Bike Patrol on the Board Walk that a sick Pelican was seen on Great Bay Beach in the vicinity of Cornie’s Beach Bar.


Upon arrival Staff of the Nature Foundation noticed an injured pelican that was rescued by Mr. Cornelius De Weever after it was struck by a Jet Ski. The Nature Foundation transported the injured animal to the St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic where the animal did not show any broken bones or fractures. The Pelican was given a dose of steroids to overcome the shock and was subsequently transported to the St. Maarten zoo where it is currently recovering.

The Brown Pelican is the national bird of St. Maarten and carries with it a high biological, historical and cultural significance. Based on previous research conducted by the Nature Foundation an overall total of 339 individuals were recorded on St. Maarten with 8 chicks and 35 sub-adults recorded. It was further determined that breeding season for adult pelicans runs from approximately the beginning of June through August with the peak occurring at the end of July through the beginning of August.

The numerous threats faced by the resident pelican population on St. Maarten were also researched with the primary threat being related to habitat destruction. The resident pelican population has decreased drastically in the last four decades which coincides with the building boom experienced on St. Maarten during the nineteen sixties and seventies when numerous breeding locations had to make way for sea-front development.

Pelicans also face threats from being struck by boats and other watercraft, including Jet Skis as was evident with the case on Thursday.

The final threat to the species is related to the entanglement in fishing line and marine debris such as plastic bags and other garbage. The Nature Foundation often responds to incidents where pelicans are caught in fishing line or hooks, fishing nets, plastic bags, or soda can holders. Steps are therefore currently being taken by the Nature Foundation to introduce a line recycling program which the Foundation hopes will reduce incidents of Marine Entanglement to not only Pelicans but numerous other Marine Wildlife.