Thursday, July 31, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Bald Eagles in Pa. Thriving After 30 Years of Recovery Project

By Julie S | Jul 07, 2013 09:49 PM EDT

Bald eagle
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said the West Nile Virus is likely responsible for the recent spike in bald eagle deaths, 27 alone during December. (Photo : Reuters)

Collaborative efforts to restore the population of the bald eagles seemed to be paying off as a number of these feathered animals were reported to have increased dramatically for the last three decades. The Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed that there were at least 252 eagle nests found throughout Pennsylvania with nesting sites confirmed in 56 out of the state’s 67 counties.

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The recorded number is a huge increase compared to the numbers presented in the midyear report from the previous year. The report only noted 206 nests that were found in 51 counties.

Carl Roe, the commission’s executive director, had expressed that they had greatly expected the success of the Bald Eagle Recovery Project launched in 1983 funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Endangered Species. This has been supported by the fact that every year, their numbers have grown steadily and their range had become broader.

Based on official records made thirty years ago, there were only three nesting pairs of eagles in the state and they were found at the Crawford County that runs through the Ohio border. Things such as pesticides and water pollution were pointed out as the main culprits for the reduction of their population.

The project was launched as an effort to save their dwindling population in which they sent out some employees to Canada in order to get eaglets from their wild nests. The birds were then placed in customized towers located near Harrisburg and Pike Country. After a certain period, the birds were gradually released freely into the wild. There were at least 88 bald eaglets that have been released successfully by the program which had been funded by the Mellon foundation and the federal government.

In 1998, officials have claimed that there were a total of 25 nesting pairs of bald eagles found in the commonwealth. The number has even doubled in a span of three years. By 2005, the bald eagle’s endangered list status has been reclassified by the Game Commission which now places them under the threatened species category.

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