Watch drone video of a pelican paradise
(WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recently marked the 50th anniversary of the reintroduction of brown pelicans in the pelican state.
By 1968, biologists say, the widespread use of the pesticide DDT has contaminated fish and caused reproductive failure in the pelicans.
In June of that year, Wildlife and Fisheries transplanted 700 juvenile pelicans from Florida's Atlantic coast on Queen Bess Island at the southern end of Barataria Bay in an attempt to repopulate the species.
DDT has long since been banned and this spring and summer, 4,000 nesting adults raised their babies on the island.
Drone video supplied by LDWF shows the island has deteriorated badly over the years.
Once 36 acres, the island has subsided dramatically, leaving only 5 acres onto which the pelicans must squeeze.
Next year, the state plans a $17 million restoration project to dredge material from offshore and deliver it by pipe to raise the island elevation.
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