American bald eagles have made ‘strong return’ from brink of extinction

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The number of American bald eagles has more than quadrupled since 2009, according to a recent report by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The species, once on the brink of extinction, has grown to 316,700 birds and 71,400 nesting pairs in the 2019 breeding season. US officials say the “strong return” of American bald eagles is a reminder of the importance of federal conservation efforts and protections, such as banning the pesticide DDT.

Deb Haaland told the Associated Press that the growth of the species “is also a moment to reflect on the importance of the Endangered Species Act, a vital tool in the efforts to protect America’s wildlife”.

“The strong return of this treasured bird reminds us of our nation’s shared resilience and the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters that bind us together,″ the interior secretary added. According to the AP, the bald eagle was removed from the list of endangered and threatened species in 2007.

Haaland also said her department plans to review actions taken by the Trump administration “to undermine key provisions” of the Endangered Species Act, which was created in 1973, 10 years after populations of American bald eagles had dwindled to just 417 known nesting pairs.

According to the news organization, the Trump administration removed endangered species protections for gray wolves last year, “ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators”.

The move, made days before the 2020 general election, was seen as a decision made to appeal to key demographics of rural voters. Earlier this year, the administration removed protections on habitats for the northern spotted owl in Oregon, Washington state and northern California. Environmentalists criticized the decision as one that prioritized the timber industry over wildlife protections.

Nesting cams, such as the one in Big Bear Lake, have allowed supporters of the bird to view them live.

Article Source: The Guardian