Once on the brink of extinction, one of the United States’ most revered national symbols, the bald eagle is thriving again.
During the 1980’s there was only one nesting bald eagle pair in Southern New Jersey. Nevertheless, with the ban on the pesticide DDT that led to the sharp decline of the eagle’s population, along with a strong and concerted effort by the New Jersey wildlife officials to bolster their population, there are now one hundred and two nesting pairs, nearly all of which are descended from sixty eaglets that were transplanted from Canada.
Kathy Clark, a wildlife biologist said, “what’s really exciting is that they are being found all across the state in all types of habitats, including along small lakes and reservoirs along northern New Jersey.” Canada’s contribution has also been a significant factor in neighboring Pennsylvania where the population rebounded from three nesting pairs in the 1980’s to more than 200 today. Eighty-eight eagles from Saskatchewan were brought in from between 1983 and 1989 on an emergency basis to help rebuild the eagle population.
Both Canada and the United States can jointly cheer and celebrate the resurgence of these wonderful and majestic birds that have become widely accepted and recognized as a symbol of freedom. An eagle can live up to thirty years in the wild and now –unlike being threatened in the past – should survive well into the future if we make sure to preserve and protect their habitats.