What is the News?
A parasitic (nematode) infestation has led to mass deaths of spot-billed pelicans (Pelicanus philippensis) at Telineelapuram Important Bird Area (IBA) in Andhra Pradesh.
What is a Spot-Billed Pelican?
IUCN Status: Near Threatened
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule IV
Note: Under schedule IV, hunting is prohibited, but the penalty for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.
Habitat: It is a bird of large inland and coastal waters, especially large lakes. The main habitat of the bird is in shallow lowland freshwaters.
The bird is found to breed only in peninsular India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.
Threats: Survival of Spot-billed Pelican birds is threatened by habitation loss due to deforestation, hunting, and pollution by organochlorine pesticides.
Nematode infestation does not spread from one species to another species. But the infestation transfers from the fish, snails, and invertebrates. Since spot-billed pelicans are capable of hunting huge fish from the water bodies and swamps it is vulnerable to infestation.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Spot-billed pelicans dying en masse in Andhra Pradesh’ published in The Hindu on 27th January 2022.