Jul 14, 2022
American bald eagles are flying high again. They had been on the brink of extinction. Hunting, pesticide poisoning, and habitat destruction threatened their survival. But their numbers have quadrupled in the lower 48 states since 2009. Nearly 317,000 live there now. Among them are more than 71,400 nesting pairs. That's according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
One federal official calls it “one of the most remarkable conservation success stories of all time.”
As many as a half-million bald eagles once lived in the US. By 1963, their population had declined to just 417 mating pairs in the lower 48 US states.
The white-headed bald eagle is America’s national bird. Native Americans view it as sacred. The eagles' numbers have gradually recovered. They were placed on the endangered species list in 1978 and removed from it in 2007.
Conservationists say their return is due to decades of federal protections. They include outlawing hunting eagles. The pesticide DDT was also banned. Breeding programs and habitat protection helped.
The secretary of the interior celebrated the "strong return of this treasured bird." She added that it reminds us of "the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters.”
Photo by Steve Berardi courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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