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Tropic news. Volume 9. Issue 9.

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Title:
Tropic news. Volume 9. Issue 9.
Series Title:
Tropic news
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United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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English

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Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
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North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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Full Text




TROPIC NEWS
APTMR'PT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
RESOURCES


June 1997


A Strange Bird, The Pelican...

There are six species of pelicans recognized
around the world. Five species are white pelicans
which live in inland fresh bodies of water. The
brown pelican is the only one that has taken to the
sea. The pelican is the only bird in the world with a
built-in dip-net to catch its dinner. The pelican can
dive from heights of thirty feet to capture its prey.
A cushion system of air-filled pads under the skin
of its neck and chest protects it from impact when
crashing down into the sea.
Although the oversized beak is a good tool for
catching dinner, the beak can be a liability while
feeding. The filled pouch acts as an anchor holding
as much as three gallons of water which takes a
while to drain. Various birds such as gulls, herons
and frigate birds, eager for a stolen meal, victimize
feeding pelicans. Dainty brown nody Terns perch
on their heads to extract tiny fish right from their
beaks. There have been cases where the pouch has
been punctured by a barracuda while under water.
Grooming and preening is also a great task
since trying to maneuver this oversized beak re-
quires acrobatic twists of the head and neck to
reach difficult spots. The greatest demand on the
pelican's beak control comes at nesting time. The
careful building of a nest in mangroves and coastal
trees is done with greater care than many other
seabirds. The male is the provider of nesting mate-
rials, while their mates sit tight and see to the
tricky building details.
There is much care given to raising offspring.
An adult pelican needs four pounds of fresh fish
per day, whereas a total of about 150 pounds are
required to rear each chick to independence, which
takes about three months. Competition amongst
chicks is fierce with weaker ones often being
pushed out of the nests.
Today, pelicans face a number of dangers. Loss
of coastal habitats, accidental entanglement in
marine debris and polluted coastal waters from
upland runoff are just a few. Brown pelicans have
proven resilient and adaptable to man's continuous
attacks on the environment. Yet, it is only a matter
of time before the pelican's luck runs out. We hope
it never does.
Partially excerpted from article by Tui De Roy, A strange
Bird, The Pelican..., Ocean Realm, Winter 1996-97.


Volume 9 Number 9


I


1997: International
Year of the Reef
Coral reefs are in serious decline globally, espe-
cially those in shallow coastal waters and near
dense populations of humans. It has been esti-
mated that at least ten percent of the earth's coral
reefs have been seriously damaged or destroyed. If
allowed to continue, this decline very well could
lead to the loss of most of the world's coral reefs
during the next century (Report to the U.N. Commis-
sion on Sustainable Development on the International
Coral Reef Initiative).
The primary causes of coral reef decline are
from anthropogenic (man-made) stresses. These
include such things as soil runoff from land, sew-
age discharges into the sea, over harvest of fish
stocks, loss of mangroves which filter runoff and
are the nursery habitat for many reef fish, loss of
seagrasses which trap sand and keep the water
clear, anchor damage, boat groundings and many
other seemingly small, but cumulatively significant
stresses.
And without our reefs we face such things as
coastal erosion from waves being able to reach the
shoreline. We will lose the source for many types of
food items that we eat. We will lose our attraction
as a tourist destination for the thousands of people
who come to snorkel and dive in our waters. We
will lose the equivalent of an underwater rain
forest with its thousands of inhabitants.
In the Virgin Islands we can all help prevent
this from happening. We just need to think about
the consequences of our actions and change the
way we have done things. Don't throw oil or other
chemicals where they will eventually reach the sea.
Anchor your boat in sand. Don't stand on or kick
coral while in the water. Report mangrove cutting
or other environmental violations. Support protect-
ing significant marine areas that will not only be
there for you and your children but will help re-
store surrounding areas. Make your voices heard
on environmental issues. If we don't do something,
we will lose everything!

Quote
Being kind to the plants and trees, being kind to
the rivers and oceans-, being kind to the air and
earth is being kind to ourselves.
-11.-. TT---








They're Back


Each year migratory
birds return to our offshore
cays to nest and rear their
offspring. Terns constitute
the largest group of breed-
ing migrants here in the
Virgin Islands. Many of our
offshore cays offer suitable conditions for nesting.
The birds are safe from predators, there are
sufficient bait fish for food, and most important,
there is very minimal impact from humans.
Fortunately, seabirds in the USVI are pro-
tected by numerous federal and local laws and
treaties. As an additional measure, the Commis-
sioner of DPNR has designated all government-
owned offshore islands where seabirds nest as
wildlife sanctuaries, and as such, entry onto these
islands is prohibited unless authorized by the
Commissioner. The following islands include the
more important seabird nesting areas: Saba,
Turtledove, Flat, Kalkun, Dutchcap, Cockroach,
Congo, Carval Rock, Shark, Dog, Frenchcap
LeDuck and Flanagan. Violations of this law can
result in fines and/or imprisonment.
The Commissioner of DPNR and the Division
of Fish and Wildlife are asking the public to
cooperate with efforts to protect and conserve this
unique natural resource by not landing on islands
with nesting seabirds. Anyone observing harass-
ment of seabirds, by land or air, is asked to con-
tact Environmental Enforcement at 776-8600,
776-8608, or Division of Fish and Wildlife at
775-6762.

Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


I I a _~~-I I=


Results from Coastweeks 1996
Over 151,000 volunteers across the U.S. docu-
mented and removed three million pounds of trash
from our nation's beaches, waterways, and under-
water areas last September during the 11th An-
nual International Coastal Cleanup.
"The record-breaking results of the 1996
Cleanup reminds us that people are the solution to
America's trash problem," said Seba Sheavly,
Director of the International Coastal Cleanup.
"As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the
Clean Water Act this year", said Sheavly, "we must
all think about what more can be done to ensure
the health and beauty of our beaches and water-
ways." Sheavly added that vacationers can help
keep their beaches, lakes, rivers and other water-
ways clean throughout the summer and the year
by following a few simple tips:
Use a proper waste receptacle when available.
Take a bag with you when you visit a beach,
or other waterway in case trash containers are not
available. Then be sure to recycle what you can.
Keep trash with you when you are on the boat,
then dispose of it ashore.
If you smoke, keep your "butt" off the beach.
The next International Coastal Cleanup is
scheduled for Saturday, September 20, 1997. We
will publish dates for local Coastweeks activities in
a later issue.


This newsletter was funded by the US
Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and
Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean
Fishery Management Council and the
Government of the VI.


Donna M. Griffin Editor
Ralf H. Boulon Jr. Chief of Environmental Education


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
******
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104
(809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.)


BULK RATE
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.I.
PERMIT NO. 35


Address Correction Requested


(,~H~4

2
alCI'




Full Text

PAGE 1

OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE June 1997 Volume 9 Number 9 A Strange Bird, The Pelican... 1997: International Year of the Reef Coral reefs are in serious decline globally, especially those in shallow coastal waters and near dense populations of humans. It has been estimated that at least ten percent of the earth's coral reefs have been seriously damaged or destroyed. If allowed to continue, this decline very well could lead to the loss of most of the world's coral reefs during the next century (Report to the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development on the International Coral Reef Initiative). The primary causes of coral reef decline are from anthropogenic (man-made) stresses. These include such things as soil runoff from land, sewage discharges into the sea, over harvest of fish stocks, loss of mangroves which filter runoff and are the nursery habitat for many reef fish, loss of seagrasses which trap sand and keep the water clear, anchor damage, boat groundings and many other seemingly small, but cumulatively significant stresses. And without our reefs we face such things as coastal erosion from waves being able to reach the shoreline. We will lose the source for many types of food items that we eat. We will lose our attraction as a tourist destination for the thousands of people who come to snorkel and dive in our waters. We will lose the equivalent of an underwater rain forest with its thousands of inhabitants. In the Virgin Islands we can all help prevent this from happening. We just need to think about the consequences of our actions and change the way we have done things. Don't throw oil or other chemicals where they will eventually reach the sea. Anchor your boat in sand. Don't stand on or kick coral while in the water. Report mangrove cutting or other environmental violations. Support protecting significant marine areas that will not only be there for you and your children but will help restore surrounding areas. Make your voices heard on environmental issues. If we don't do something, we will lose everything! Qflote Being kind to the plants and trees, being kind to the riveF~ and oceans-, being kind to the air and earth is being kind to ourselves. ~_11_T:r There are six species of pelicans recognized around the world. Five species are white pelicans which live in inland fresh bodies of water. The brown pelican is the only one that has taken to the sea. The pelican is the only bird in the world with a built-in dip-net to catch its dinner. The pelican can dive from heights of thirty feet to capture its prey. A cushion system of air-filled pads under the skin of its neck and chest protects it from impact when crashing down into the sea. Although the oversized beak is a good tool for catching dinner, the beak can be a liability while feeding. The filled pouch acts as an anchor holding as much as three gallons of water which takes a while to drain. Various birds such as gulls, herons and frigate birds, eager for a stolen meal, victimize feeding pelicans. Dainty brown nody Terns perch on their heads to extract tiny fish right from their beaks. There have been cases where the pouch has been punctured by a barracuda while under water. Grooming and preening is also a great task since trying to maneuver this oversized beak requires acrobatic twists of the head and neck to reach difficult spots. The greatest demand on the pelican's beak control comes at nesting time. The careful building of a nest in mangroves and coastal trees is done with greater care than many other seabirds. The male is the provider of nesting materials, while their mates sit tight and see to the tricky building details. There is much care given to raising offsprings. An adult pelican needs four pounds of fresh fish per day, whereas a total of about 150 pounds are required to rear each chick to independence, which takes about three months. Competition amongst chicks is fierce with weaker ones often being pushed out of the nests. Today, pelicans face a number of dangers. Loss of coastal habitats, accidental entanglement in marine debris and polluted coastal waters from upland runoff are just a few. Brown pelicans have proven resilient and adaptable to man's continuous attacks on the environment. Yet, it is only a matter of time before the pelican's luck runs out. We hope it never does. Partially excerpted from article by Tui De Roy, A strange Bird, The Pelican..., Ocean Realm, Winter 1996-97.

PAGE 2

They're Back Results from Coastweeks 1996 Over 151,000 volunteers across the U.S. documented and removed three million pounds of trash from our nation's beaches, waterways, and underwater areas last September during the 11th Annual International Co~stal Cleanup. "The record-breaking results of the 1996 Cleanup reminds us that people are the solution to America's trash problem," said Seba Sheavly, Director of the International Coastal Cleanup. "As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Clean Water Act this year", said Sheavly, "we must all think about what more can be done to ensure the health and beauty of our beaches and waterways." Sheavly added that vacationers can help keep their beaches, lakes, rivers and other waterways clean throughout the summer and the year by following a few simple tips: . Use a proper waste receptacle when available. . Take a bag with you when you visit a beach, or other waterway in case trash containers are not available. Then be sure to recycle what you can. . Keep trash with you when you are on the boat, then dispose of it ashore. . If you smoke, keep your "butt" off the beach. The next International Coastal Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, September 20,1997. We will publish dates for local Coastweeks activities in a later issue. Each year migratory . birds return to our offshore cays to nest and rear their offspring. Terns constitute the largest group of breed..ing migrants here in the Virgin Islands. Many of our offshore cays offer suitable conditions for nesting. The birds are safe from predators, there are sufficient bait fish for food, and most important, there is very minimal impact from humans. Fortunately, seabirds in the USVI are protected by numerous federal and local laws and treaties. As an additional measure, the Commissioner ofDPNR has designated all governmentowned offshore islands where seabirds nest as wildlife sanctuaries, and as such, entry onto these islands is prohibited unless authorized by the Commissioner. The following islands include the more important seabird nesting areas: Saba, Turtledove, Flat, Kalkun, Dutchcap, Cockroach, Congo, Carval Rock, Shark, Dog, Frenchcap LeDuck and Flanagan. Violations of this law can result in fines and/or imprisonment. The Commissioner of DPNR and the Division of Fish and Wildlife are asking the public to cooperate with efforts to protect and conserve this unique natural resource by not landing on islands with nesting seabirds. Anyone observing harassment of seabirds, by land or air, is asked to contact Environmental Enforcement at 776-8600, 776-8608, or Division ofFish and Wildlife at 775-6762. Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper This newsletter was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean ,Fishery Management Council and the Government of the VI. Donna M. Griffin Editor Ralf H. Boulon Jr. Chief of Environmental Education BULK RATE U.S. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.I. PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNMENT OF nrn VIRGIN ISLANDS OF nrn UNITED STATES ****** Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife 6291 Estate Nazareth 101 St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104 (809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.) Address Correction Requested