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This Day, That Year – March 14

Tue 14 Mar 2023    
| 2 min read

This day in history we feature the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The first national wildlife refuge in the US, is established by President Theodore Roosevelt on this day in 1903.

Trivia – Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and part of the Everglades Headwaters NWR complex, located just off the western coast of North Hutchinson Island in the Indian River Lagoon east of Sebastian, Florida.

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The refuge consists of a 3-acre island that includes an additional 2.5 acres of surrounding water and is located off the east coast of Florida of the Indian River Lagoon. Established by an executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903, Pelican Island was the first National wildlife refuge in the United States. It was created to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting. Pelican Island is administered as part of the 8,000 acres Everglades Headwaters NWR complex along with Archie Carr NWR, Lake Wales Ridge NWR, and the Everglades Headwaters NWR and Conservation Area, created in 2012 with a 10 acres donation and other lands covering approximately 150,000 acres north of Lake Okeechobee. 100,000 acres will be held under “conservation easement”s through the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This allows landowners the right to retain ownership of the land, with the ability to continue farming or ranching, ensuring that the land can’t be subdivided or developed. Pelican Island NWR has been placed on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance along with other areas of wetlands in the United States. Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge holds hundreds of species of animals including birds, fish, plants, and mammals. The wetlands of Pelican Island are a major ecological system supporting the huge biological diversity. Fifteen federally listed threatened and endangered species live in Pelican Island NWR and around Indian River Lagoon. Of the endangered species, West Indian manatees and sea turtles occupy parts of the lagoon. Around the lagoon in the refuge are two wood stork refuges. These birds along with other wading birds that nest on the island thrive on the tremendous fish population. Pelican Island is home to many nesting birds including brown pelicans, great egrets, snowy egrets, reddish egrets, great blue heron, little blue heron, tricolored heron, black-crowned night heron, American white ibis, glossy ibis, double-crested cormorant, anhinga, and American oystercatcher.

Source – Wikipedia

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