American Bald Eagle population bounces back
A great announcement for wildlife lovers, the American Bald Eagle no more faces the danger of extinction and the population has reached a healthy level. The American Bald Eagle, which is native to North America, was named as the first official mascot of the US in 1782.
The bird having distinctive white head and tail is a sign of strength, beauty, and longevity. At the end of the 18th century, there were around 100,000 bald eagles residing in the wild. But by the 20th century, the number declined significantly, which placed them on the Endangered Species List (ESL).
As per the current estimations of biologists, there are around 69,000 birds throughout the country. Under The Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, commercial hunting of the bald eagle was banned, as it was considered as a threat.
Even after putting the ban, the population continued to decline. One of the main reasons was the adverse effects on egg shell due to the commercial pesticide DDT. The popular pesticide DDT was used to kill mosquitoes to eradicate malaria.
In 1963, there were only about 487 nesting pairs in the continental US. In 1967, the eagles were put on the ESL. In 1972, DDT was banned in the US and then the population started to improve and bounced back enough to be taken off the ESL in the 1990s.
“It’s hard to step away from the fact that they are our nation’s symbol and knowing that they’ve now come back from the brink. I think a lot of people have a lot of pride that we managed to do that”, said Patti Barber, a game commission biologist in Pennsylvania.
On every President’s day, the Winter Wings Bird Festival is organized at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge bordering California and Oregon. The announcement that the bald eagle is no more threatened was also made on the President’s Day.
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