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Global Ideas

Saving the giant Dalmatian pelican

The Dalmatian pelican, with its snazzy hairdo, is one of the world's largest birds. Once a regular sight on Lake Skadar in southern Europe, it's become a rarity. But the birds are returning thanks to a clever idea.

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Dalmatian pelican under threat

Project area: Lake Skadar National Park, Montenegro; Karavasta Lagoon, Albania
Project aim: Protect the endangered Dalmatian pelican, the world's biggest freshwater bird
Project implementation: Improve breeding success, guarding and scientific monitoring of pelican colonies, developing pelican-friend tourism, environmental awareness campaigns
Project partners: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Noé Conservation
Budget: $300,000 (264,350 euros)
Biodiversity: Lake Skadar, as one of Europe's largest bird reserves, is home to more than 270 kind of birds. Especially important during migration season, it is home to 50 fish species.

With a wingspan of 3 meters (nearly 10 feet) and as one of the world's largest flying birds, the Dalmatian pelican needs a lot of space. It can be found on Lake Skadar, Southern Europe's biggest lake. But in recent years, numbers of the white bird - with its unique mane of head and neck feathers - dwindled. This is in large part due to rising water levels destroying their nests (usually built on small islands in the lake). A project in the area is now bringing the birds back - with a particularly clever idea. As numbers grow could sustainable tourism also bring jobs to the area?

A film by Kerstin Schweizer

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