PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation was contacted by the VROMI Ministry to respond a pelican which was found to be trapped and injured at the Public Works Yard at Pond Island on Monday. Upon arrival the distressed animal was found to be wrapped up in fishing line and one of its wings caught in the pump-house at the Great Salt Pond. Nature Foundation Manager with the assistance of the work crew from the VROMI Ministry managed to free the animal which was then transported to the Sint Maarten Veterinary Clinic.
The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is one of St. Maarten’s national symbols, the depiction of which can be found on the island’s Flag and Coat of Arms. The bird also lends its name to various businesses and institutions on the. The health of St. Maarten’s pelicans also reflects the general health of the marine ecosystem; with more pelicans present the better the environment.
“This is the second time this year that we had to free a bird entangled in fishing line and marine debris such as plastic bags and other garbage. The Nature Foundation often responds to incidents where pelicans are caught in fishing line or hooks, fishing nets, plastic bags, or soda can holders. Steps are therefore currently being taken by the Nature Foundation to introduce a line recycling program which the Foundation hopes will reduce incidents of Marine Entanglement to not only Pelicans but numerous other Marine Wildlife,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.