New Orleans The brown pelican, once on the brink of extinction, has become so abundant that it should be removed from the list of endangered species, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said Friday.
Under government supervision, the brown pelican has made a strong comeback after the species vanished from the state in the 1960s because of DDT contamination. The birds were poisoned when they ate fish laced with the pesticide. At the same time, the birds' numbers were dwindling elsewhere.
"The pelican has pulled off an amazing recovery after a steep plunge toward extinction," Kempthorne said. He said the agency would start the process to take the bird off the list.
The brown pelican was placed on the endangered list in 1970 throughout the U.S., but it was taken off in 1985 along the Atlantic Coast and Alabama's Gulf Shore. It remains endangered in its western range, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, California, Washington and Oregon.