American Bald Eagle
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- In a 2021 report by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, it is observed that the number of bald eagles in the wild has increased fourfold since 2009.
- It is considered as one of the biggest success stories of conservation of a species.
- The bird was once facing the risk of extinction and was included in the United States’ list of endangered species.
- Due to conservation measures the number started improving and it was removed from the said list in June 2009.
- They were seen as threat to livestock, especially domestic chicken, hence they were hunted.
- In 18th century feather hats were popularized hence more killing of this bird.
- Habitat destruction.
- Use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) for mosquitos and agricultural pests it severely affected the bald eagle population.
- It led to nesting failure, which is laying of extremely thin-shelled eggs
History and Background
- These birds were adopted as the USA’s national symbol in 1782.
- As per the American Eagle Foundation, there were as many as 100,000 nesting birds at that time.
- It started declining in the early 1800s due to various factors.
- Populations kept on declining till about the 1940s.
- Extensive use of DDT By the mid to late 1940s.
- By 1963, only 417 nesting pairs were remained and identified in the wild.
- In 1995, due to conservation efforts, the bald eagle was moved from endangered to threatened status
- Finally in 2007, they were removed from the endangered species list.
- Current overall population is roughly 316,700.
Trigger Point for Conservation
- Rachel Carson’s 1962 book named Silent Spring highlighted detrimental effects of chemical pesticides on environment and bald eagle populations.
- The book connected various element of survival which includes materialism, scientism, and the technologically engineered control of nature.
- Migratory Birds Treaty Act came into force in 1918.
- Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in 1940 was passed with an aim to discourage and punish killing of this bird for feathers and to promote conservation.
- In 1972, nationwide ban on the use of DDT for agricultural use.
- Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 for the conservation of habitat of this species.
- Also in the 1970s, Captive breeding programmes were launched.
- Eagle colonies were bred in captivity, including monitoring of fragile eggs and nestlings, at centres by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Hacking practice, a controlled way to raise and release bald eagles into a wild viable environment from artificial nesting towers, was employed.
- Also there were strict restrictions for human activity around nesting areas of eagles.
- They are also known by their scientific name Haliaeetus leucocephalus.
- They belong to the family of Accipitridae.
- There are mainly distributes throughout North American continent found most residing in woods by rivers, lakes.
- Main diet is fish, turtles, and small mammals such as squirrels and rabbits.
- It sometimes eat dead animals or steal prey from
- They can be as long as 43 inches and have a wingspan of around 2.5 metres.
- They appear dark brown, with a white feathered head and tail.
- They are the only sea eagle endemic to North America.
- These are currently a ‘Least concern’ species as per IUCN.
Consider the following statements about Bald Eagles:
1. These are considered and listed as a threatened species of eagles.
2. Their distribution is mostly limited to North American continent and they are endemic to North America.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2