Energy & Environment

Bald eagle population has quadrupled in last decade

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The bald eagle population has increased by more than four times since 2009, according to a report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We estimated 316,700 bald eagles were present in the four EMUs in the 2019 breeding season, 4.4 times more eagles than in 2009,” the report states.

Bald eagles were almost extinct in 1963 with only 417 known nesting pairs at the time, the agency said in a statement.

“Today’s announcement is truly a historic conservation success story. Announcements like ours today give me hope. 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,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in the statement.

The bald eagle population is estimated by biologists who use aerial surveys in different service regions for two years. 

The population has been able to flourish and recover from near extinction due to federal protections given to the country’s national symbol.

“After decades of protection, the banning of the pesticide DDT, and conservation efforts with numerous partners, the bald eagle population has flourished, growing to more than 71,400 nesting pairs,” the agency said .

“The recovery of the bald eagle is one of the most well-known conservation success stories of all time,” Service Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams said. “The Service continues to work with our partners in state and federal agencies, tribes, non-government organizations and with private landowners to ensure that our nation’s symbol continues to flourish.”

Bald eagles continue to be protected despite being off the endangered species list and anyone who kills the bird could face a felony charge that comes with two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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