Spot-billed pelicans are classified by IUCN as a vulnerable species, with an estimated 7,500 – 10,000 individuals currently in existence. Several key breeding grounds are now in protected areas, particularly the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve in Cambodia. Others, such as the Sittang Valley breeding colony in Myanmar, have already been destroyed. Spot-billed pelicans suffer mainly from habitat loss due to deforestation, hunting, and pollution by organochlorine pesticides. Deforestation is particularly damaging because it affects their breeding grounds. Aquaculture and over-fishing by humans have also disturbed vital pelican habitats. Legislation, community action, research, habitat preservation, and habitat restoration are needed to help increase the long-term viability of spot-billed pelican populations.
US Migratory Bird Act: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened