Pelecanus philippensis was formerly common across much of Asia, but suffered a widespread decline. However, owing to protection and increased knowledge its estimated population has been revised upwards from a low of 5,500-10,000 birds in 2002 to an estimated 13,000-18,000 individuals in 2006. Known breeding populations are now confined to India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. The Indian population is thought to exceed 5,000 birds in the south owing to increases resulting from improved protection of the species7, plus c.3,000 in Assam1. In southern India there are 21 known breeding colonies in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu8. One of these at Kokkare Bellur, Karnataka, has doubled in size in recent years8. In Sri Lanka c.5,000 birds were thought to breed, possibly overlapping with the southern Indian populations3. However, recent evidence from Sri Lanka suggests a breeding population of fewer than 1,000 pairs (counts from the three known colonies totalled just 400 pairs6). In South-East Asia an estimated 1,000-1,500 breeding pairs9 occur at Prek Toal on the Tonle Sap lake. This population is thought to be increasing following protection of breeding birds at the site beginning in 20029. It probably breeds in small numbers on Sumatra, Indonesia, and may also breed in Myanmar5. There are recent records of migrants in Nepal, Laos and Vietnam, but it no longer occurs in the Philippines and China. Numbers recorded in Thailand have increased in recent years4. This is thought to be as a result of improved protection of the nesting colonies in Cambodia.
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