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Bald eagles are back from the brink

Bald eagles are back from the brink JSTOR Daily


Recent news reports of a pair of bald eagles flying around Staten Island suggest that New York City may someday have baby eagles within its boundaries for the first time in at least a century. This isn’t all that far-fetched: the birds are now seen regularly along the Hudson River in winter.

Forest destruction, hunting, and DDT poisoning took a tremendous toll on the birds that the United States made a national symbol in 1782. By the nation’s bicentennial, there were approximately 500 eagle pairs left in the lower 48 states (New York state, as an example, had one pair left). That’s when efforts to conserve and reintroduce them begin in earnest.

Today there are more than ten times that number in the lower 48 states. Alaska and Canada have even more; Alaska was a major source of young birds for re-introduction programs. In 2007, the federal government “de-listed” bald eagles from the Endangered and Threatened Wildlife list, making their recovery a bonafide success story.

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In 1976 there were 500 eagles.

In 2016 there are 5000 eagles. 

De-listed from "endangered" is big progress!

It makes the bald eagle a good symbol from America.

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