(May 14, 2007)

Bald Eages recovering

From Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the number of Bald Eagles in the United States hitting the highest level since World War II, the Fish and Wildlife Service said on Monday it will decide on removing them from the list of threatened and endangered species by June 29.

The Bald Eagle is the country's national bird and its image bedecks the presidential seal.

There are now 9,789 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states, the agency said.

Minnesota tops the list with 1,312 pairs of the white-headed birds. Vermont saw its first baby eagles hatch in 2006.

In the years following World War II the widely used pesticide DDT, or dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, damaged the birds' reproductive systems and their population plummeted. They hit an all-time low of 417 breeding pairs in 1963.

The government banned DDT in 1972 and the number of bald eagles steadily grew.

In 1995, the service downgraded the bird to threatened status from endangered.

The eagles would continue to be managed under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

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