Eco-physiological research and wetland conservation: insights from pelican and cormorant studies in Israel.
The deterioration of wetlands resulting from global climate change, development, and habitat fractionation render long-distance migrating birds face difficulties in finding proper sites for rest and re-fueling. In Israel, which is a bottleneck for some 600 million migrating birds, the drainage of the Hula Lake resulted in serious conflicts with intensive fisheries and agriculture. Implementation of various deterrence methods, including killing, failed to solve these conflicts. We have offered the concept that only the understanding of the biology of the organism in question may give us the tools (indications) for a proper management that will solve such conflicts while helping the preservation of natural assets such as wetlands.
We demonstrate this in solutions reached in the case studies of pelicans and cormorants. We have studied their physiological condition, food preference, energy demands and ecological constraints. As a result, we were able to offer differential management and implement our suggested solutions with the full cooperation of the fishermen and the nature preservation authorities. We have shown that such solutions are economically helpful for fishermen and enable the preservation of the wetland habitat.