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Reason Foundation

Bald eagle, phone home!

Skaidra Smith-Heisters
June 27, 2007, 10:03am

News of the bald eagle's removal from the endangered species list on Reuters and elsewhere today:
It is a man-on-the-moon moment for wildlife....It's an incredible success story for our country, the eagle and the Endangered Species Act.
–Doug Inkley, senior scientist, National Wildlife Federation
Success story, yes. Man-on-the-moon moment, maybe–if by that you mean a national spectacle with little evidence to corroborate the "official" version of the facts. Two major misconceptions evident in much of today's coverage of the bald eagle's recovery include, first, the reality that the bald eagle was endangered in name only. The population was threatened in the southern end of its range by the use of DDT as an agricultural insecticide after World War II, ending in 1972 when DDT was banned. Most eagles lived where DDT was not used heavily, and as a result have maintained healthy numbers to this day. Second, the bald eagle is being delisted in name only. Most of the provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including stringent land-use controls, will be carried over into revised legislation that constitutes a "mini-ESA" for eagles. If you want your coverage of the bald eagle's recovery to be a little less moonwalk, a little more grounded on Earth, check out Reason's just-released publications, The Bald Eagle, DDT, and the Endangered Species Act and The Bald Eagle's Worst Enemy–How Federal Law Pits Landowners Against Eagles. Read on for highlights of Reason's publications on the delisting of the eagle.

Skaidra Smith-Heisters is Policy Analyst


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