Sunday, July 1, 2007

Flying from Extinction

Oboy, I read the New York Daily News today:

American bald eagles are back!
Four decades after it teetered on the brink of extinction, the American bald eagle is expected to be removed from the endangered species list today.

The revered national symbol has bounced back so strongly that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service plans to announce it no longer needs stringent protections to thrive.

"It is a man-on-the-moon moment for wildlife," said Doug Inkley of the independent National Wildlife Federation. He credited the 1973 Endangered Species Act with saving the bird.

"This is a great conservation success story," added Michael Daulton of the National Audubon Society. "In addition to being our national symbol, the bald eagle is now a symbol of environmental stewardship as well."

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne will make the announcement at a ceremony near the Jefferson Memorial, a day before a court-directed deadline for his department to decide the eagle's status.

Hunting and the pesticide DDT killed nearly all the bald eagles in the lower 48 states a half century ago.

Just 418 nesting pairs were counted in 1963.

A prohibition on DDT and the passage of wildlife protections worked wonders, and there now are an estimated 10,000 pairs in the U.S. outside Alaska.

Even after today's announcement, it will still be illegal to kill or "disturb" bald eagles or their nests.

Hey, sometimes it's not all bad news all the time.