O’siyo. During the 1970s the Bald Eagle population was nearly decimated primarily due to pesticides. Today, the number of eagles are increasing and thriving. Thanks to Wildlife officials, and places such as the Zuni Eagle Sanctuary, located in the Pueblo of Zuni (Zuni, New Mexico) and the American people, our national symbol of pride is back stronger than ever!
Excerpt: Bald Eagles Are Back In A Big Way, by Elizabeth Shogren, NPR
“It’s a jungle if you’re an eagle right now on the Chesapeake Bay, says Bryan Watts, a conservation biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
Americans have long imagined their national symbol as a solitary, noble bird soaring on majestic wings. The birds are indeed gorgeous and still soar, but the notion that they are loners is outdated, Watts and other conservationists are finding.
After nearly being wiped out, inadvertently, by strong insecticides that were in widespread use until the 1970s, bald eagles have come roaring back in places like the James River, south of Richmond, Va. Today the raptors fly around together above the James in big groups, hang out in communal roosts and are fiercely competitive.
Forty years ago, Watts, says, we probably would not have seen a single bald eagle here. A prime contributor to their disappearance in this region was located just upriver, where Bailey Creek meets the James. In the 1960s and 1970s, Allied Chemical Corporation produced a pesticide called Kepone (chlordecone) at its plant in Hopewell, Va.
Pesticides like Kepone and DDT helped put bald eagles on the endangered species list. Eagles kept reproducing but their eggs weren’t viable and didn’t hatch. By the 1970s, there were no eagle nests at all on the James River, and fewer than 500 nests in the Lower 48. Watts says that grim reality woke up Americans.
We as a society decided when the population was declining that that’s not what we wanted…
The United States banned the pesticides and the shooting of eagles. Wildlife officials started protecting the birds’ nesting territory and setting aside tracts of land for their recovery.
In 2007, thanks to all those measures, the bald eagle came off the endangered species list. Its rebound has come without the struggles and public resistance that continue to mire efforts to bring back wolves, condors and grizzlies.” Read more…
“When I feel stressed, I come into the aviary and reflect on their lives. The spirit they emanate lessens my problems and makes me whole. In that sense, they are healers.” ~Nelson Luna~ Zuni Fish and Wildlife director and biologist-Zuni Eagle Sancturary-