Bald Eagle No Longer Considered Threatened

The American bald eagle is no longer at serious risk of extinction and will be taken off the federal endangered species list this year, Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson announced over the weekend. The striking national symbol’s decline — by 1963, just 417 known mating pairs of eagles remained in the continental U.S., thanks to hunters and exposure to the common pesticide DDT — led to passage of the Endangered Species Act and a ban on DDT. Though the eagle has largely recovered, with more than 7,600 breeding pairs in the contiguous U.S., it will still be shielded by the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, which prohibits killing or selling the birds. The de-listing process began four and a half years ago, but because of the enormous range of the bird’s habitat — which encompasses some portion of virtually every state — accounting for exact numbers and reconciling federal protections with state-level laws has taken a long time.