The American Bald Eagle has long been an iconic symbol for the United States. Unfortunately, in the past, the majestic bird also came to symbolize America’s failure to protect and preserve its natural resources and habitats.
From 1870 to 1970, American Bald Eagle populations cratered “because of hunting, habitat loss and the use of DDT, a powerful insecticide that made bald eagle eggshells so weak they couldn’t produce viable offspring,” CNN reported.
In a rare show of effective action, the federal government took steps to protect the iconic creature by banning DDT and placing the eagles on the Endangered Species list. Thanks to those protections, and the tireless efforts of conservationists and environmental activists, the American Bald Eagle has made a stunning recovery!
“The bald eagle population has continued to increase rapidly since our previous survey,” writes a report from the US Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Published in December of 2020, the commission’s findings show “the population in our study increased rapidly since 1994 at a rate of approximately 10% per year,” leading to a 440% increase since 2009!
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This success shows that a species’ decline can be reversed — through general legislation like the Endangered Species Act, or targeted intervention like the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
“Today’s announcement is truly a historic conservation success story. Announcements like ours today give me hope,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in a press release. “I believe that we have the opportunity of a lifetime to protect our environment and our way of life for generations to come. But we will only accomplish great things if we work together.”
The news is cause for celebration, and the Fish and Wildlife Commission is continuing to tackle historical problems that have plagued eagle populations while brainstorming solutions to newer issues.
For instance, the department is planning to introduce guidelines that help them “to predict the number of golden and bald eagles that may be killed at new wind facilities,” as well as releasing guidelines for “low risk” wind projects to ensure that sustainable energy and recovering bird populations can exist harmoniously.
Long venerated by Native Americans, colonial settlers, and wildlife enthusiasts across the US, the American Bald Eagle is finally on course to be restored to its former glory.
Let’s hope that similar initiatives can gain support among lawmakers, and more endangered species can be given the opportunity to recover!Whizzco