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Flora and Fauna | News | local | Pacific Ocean

Sardine Crash May Be Hurting Brown Pelicans

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Scientists and conservation groups are worried that a crash in West Coast sardine numbers that has forced cutbacks in commercial fishing is also hurting brown pelicans on the West Coast.

A brown pelican dives into the Pacific.

A brown pelican dives into the Pacific.

Vince Patton

The bird just came off the threatened species list four years ago. Breeding has been good in Mexico, but not in the Channel Islands off Southern California. The birds fly as far north as British Columbia to feed, and starved bodies of pelicans have been widely reported.

But scientists for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say budget cuts have left them with no money to do the research to figure out what is going on.

A formal status report on brown pelicans is due next year, but the Fish and Wildlife Service is not sure it will have the money to do it.

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