What is the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge?

What is the purpose of the National Wildlife Refuge System?

A national wildlife refuge is a designation for certain protected areas that are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These public lands and waters are set aside to conserve America’s wild animals and plants.

Who lives on Pelican Island?

Wildlife & Habitat

  • Pelicans. Brown pelicans can be found on the Refuge year round. …
  • Birds. More than 140 species of birds use the Refuge as a nesting, roosting, feeding, or loafing area. …
  • Fish. A variety of fish species utilize the Refuge. …
  • Endangered Species. …
  • Habitats. …
  • Mammals. …
  • Reptiles and Amphibians. …
  • Invertebrates.

What is there to do at Pelican Island?


  • Hiking, biking, birding, horseback riding.
  • Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, St. …
  • Boat Tours, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding, Pontoon River Cruises.
  • Turtle Talks and walks at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Sebastian Inlet State Park.
  • Indian River Lagoon and St.

Why was Pelican Island created?

Kroegel was one of four wardens hired by the Florida Audubon Society to protect water birds from market hunters. … On March 14, 1903, without fanfare, President Roosevelt signed an executive order establishing Pelican Island as a federal bird reservation – the forerunner to the national wildlife refuge system.

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Why were national wildlife refuges created?

Teddy Roosevelt established the first refuge unit in 1903 to protect birds from market hunting on a small island in Florida. The System has since grown to encompass more than 150 million acres of habitat essential for the survival of America’s astounding diversity of wildlife.

Is Pelican Island free?

Pelican Island, our nation’s first wildlife refuge, is in our backyard. I recently made the drive up State Road A1A to the northern end of Indian River County to explore this piece of history. And I found two different ways to enjoy this beautiful island. One option is free, but the other is well worth the cost.

Can you kayak to Pelican Island?

Approaching the island by kayak, canoe or small boat

While you are prohibited from landing on the island, you can get close enough to view the prolific wildlife, take photographs and check off a few species on your bird list. My recommended approach to the island is by kayak or paddleboard.

Can you fish on Pelican Island?

You can’t camp on Pelican Island, but you can fish all night if you want to.