Due to their geographical locations, Mediterranean wetlands are essential for many species, including Palearctic migratory birds such as the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) in particular. The Dalmatian Pelican is the rarest pelican species in the world. It is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
In Albania the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) is a species found all year round. It breeds in Karavasta lagoon and migrates all along the Adriatic coast and lakes in central Albania. The wintering is ussually occuring in Karavasta and Nataa lagoon and foragin in Macro Prespa Lake.
Despite their presence in Albania, Dalmatian Pelicans are now near to extinction with a sharp decrease in numbers with a loss of 80% of breeding pairs since 70’s on Shkodra lake. Meanwhile, in the Albanian side of the lake it is allredy vanished and the last time it was recorded in the year 1993. Karavasta lagoon is the last breeding site in Albania, but the population loss since the 90’s has been estimated to be up to 90%.
Due to the critical situation of Pelican populations PPNEA jointly with national (INCA & APAWA) and international partners (NOE & Tour de Vallat - France, EuroNatur - Germany and SPP - Greece) and supported by MAVA foundation, have started the program "Wetland Management and Dalmatian Pelican Conservation in the Mediterranean Basin". This program intends to support the management of three remarkable wetlands, all listed as Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention: Kerkini Lake National Park in Greece, Shkodra Lake National Park in Montenegro and Divjake-Karavasta National Park in Albania.
It proposes to ensure a greater ownership of local communities for their natural heritage and in particular through an emblematic umbrella species, the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanuscrispus).
The program is divided into four complementary components:
Gathering necessary knowledge on Dalmatian Pelican and its habitat for an optimal implementation of site-specific conservation plans for the Dalmatian Pelican and of PAs management plan.
Implementing a regional network of effectively managed PAs, thanks to improved local capacities.
Engaging local communities in sustainable development, respectful of the Dalmatian Pelican and its habitat.
Mainstreaming environmental issues and threats to the Dalmatian Pelican among communities, and therefore integrating environmental issues within relevant local policies and economic activities.
The program is built on successful pelican conservation actions and cross-border cooperation among the conservation partners.