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Bald eagle faces removal from endangered species list

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period on a proposal to remove the bald eagle from the list of endangered and threatened species.

When the first Europeans arrived in North America, an estimated 100,000 pairs of bald eagles populated the area that is now the lower 48 state, according to The Washington Post. By 1963, the number dropped to 417 pairs due to the use of pesticides and the destruction of bird breeding areas.

Thanks to recovery efforts by tribes, the federal government and other entities, the number of breeding pairs is estimated at 7,066. The director of USFWS called the effort a "great national success story."

If the bald eagle is delisted, it will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The laws prohibit the possession, transportation, killing, selling or otherwise harming of eagles and eagle parts. Native Americans can apply for a permit to possess eagle feathers and eagle parts.

Get the Story:
Ready to Test Their Wings? (The Washington Post 2/14)
Steps Taken to Help Eagle Leave Endangered List (The New York Times 2/14)

US Fish and Wildlife Documents:
Press Release | More Info | Q&A

Relevant Links:
National Eagle Repository -
Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act -

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