Bald eagle soars off threatened-species list, cockfighting banned

Two momentous avian occasions occurred this week: on Wednesday, the Louisiana legislature banned cockfighting, making it the last state in the U.S. to do so. And yesterday, federal officials confirmed the removal of Endangered Species Act protections for the iconic bald eagle. First, the cocks: by a unanimous vote in the state Senate and a nearly unanimous vote in the House, legislators agreed to give the cockfighting crowd one year to indulge in a little more fun, sell animals and equipment, and generally get over their distress about losing a treasured rural pastime. Maybe a visit to one of those drive-through daiquiri bars will help? The mood was much lighter in Washington, D.C., where Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne giddily announced the recovery of the eagle, whose numbers in the Lower 48 have surged from 417 breeding pairs 40 years ago to more than 10,000 today. “This is a great day,” said Douglas Inkley of the National Wildlife Federation. “This is a man-on-the-moon moment for wildlife.”