For more than 300 years, over 40 pelicans have made St James's Park their home. Each one unique and specially named to reflect their origin and to help them settle into their home in the heart of London.
Current residents Louis, Vaclav and Gargi have been enjoying Pelican Rock and the lake in St James's Park for many years. Louis came all the way from Louisiana in 1982, Vaclav was a gift from Prague Zoo in 1995 and Gargi came from a little closer to home after he was found by a member of the public in his garden in Southend and donated to the park in 1996. Together, they are the stars of St James’s Park and feel at home in the semi-wild habitat, roosting and foraging in the shallow lake, whilst giving humans a glimpse of exotic wildlife for free.
As this existing colony grows older, new pelicans are vital to maintain the heritage of having pelicans in St James's Park. Today, thanks to our pelican partners, we're excited to announce that three new Great White Pelicans take up residency on the St James's Park lake to continue this legacy.
After a carefully controlled and precision planned journey earlier this year and then a pampered introduction to life in St James’s Park, spending over two months in a specially fitted out enclosure where an experienced and skilled team monitored their progress as they acclimatised to their new surroundings, the three new pelicans are now ready to try out their new home.
Mark Wasilewski, manager of St James’s Park, said: "The pelicans are part of the park’s history and the team here is very excited about their arrival. These beautiful animals have brought joy to visitors for generations, while also promoting greater interest in the birds and their conservation.”
Naming the pelicans
One of the new pelicans will be called Tiffany in honour of the The Tiffany & Co. Foundation who made this whole project possible, one will be named later this year, and one name is to be chosen by you!
Help name one of the beautiful female birds by voting for your favourite name from the list below. All names have been selected as they have a special connection with the pelicans themselves or St James's Park:
- Bela – a Czech name derived from Slavic word for ‘white’
- Bety – suggested by Prague Zoo, a Czech version of Elizabeth
- Karola – a Czech name derived from Charles, the King who was gifted the first pelicans in 1664
- Isla – the name of the daughter of Malcolm, the wildlife officer who has cared for the pelicans in the park for over 35 years!
- Pearl – a classic ‘London’ name and also a precious stone with Royal connections
- Queenie – also a classic London name, it’s also a nod to the Pellies’ neighbour at the Palace
You have until Tuesday 16 April 2013 to vote and help us give our youngest pelican a name to help her settle into her new home on the lake in St James's Park.
A big thanks to...
The pelicans’ arrival has been funded by a wonderful gift from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation in New York, with Prague Zoo kindly donating the birds. Zoo vet Nic Masters and wildlife transport specialist Matthew Ford then generously gave their time and expertise for free. The expert team at The Royal Parks have been fully dedicated to ensure these birds are healthy, happy and ready for their new lives in St James's Park. Thank you for helping us to keep pelicans in the park!
26 March 2013