An orchestra of pelicans glances up at seasoned fisherman, Thomas, as he reaches into his bucket, where freshly caught fish wriggle. He tosses a fish into the water, and the scene turns into a pandemonium of flapping wings, splashing water, and squacking birds. Having fished at lake Kerkini on a daily basis for the past 20 years, Thomas knows every individual by name. The birds put a smile on his face during the strenuous hours of fishing and the repetitiveness of the job and in return, he feeds them by-catch that he cannot sell at the market.


The relationship between local fishermen and pelicans was not always amicable. In the 1960s and 1970s, the pelicans were classified by the state as “harmful enemies” and hunted almost to extinction. Now, there is a mutuality between the birds and the fishermen, in which the former maintain a healthy ecosystem and the latter support a threatened population.

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