Conservation Efforts Revitalize Indiana’s Bald Eagle Population
Bald eagles have once again begun to flourish in the state of Indiana thanks to the success of a 30-year conservation program, reports the News-Sentinel. The eagle population is thriving so well that conservation officials no longer need to keep a close watch, and researchers expect the eagle population to continue to grow. Indiana’s bald eagles have come a long way since the conservation effort began in the mid-1980s.
Bald Eagles nested regularly in Indiana until the late 19th century, explains the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Poaching and loss of habitat contributed to the decline in bald eagle population. Additionally, the eagles consumed DDT, a toxic pesticide, through the fish they ate, which weakened their eggs and hindered their ability to reproduce. By the time the government banned the use of DDT, bald eagles were an endangered species.
The Bald Eagle Reintroduction Program
An agency called the Indiana Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program initiated the Bald Eagle Reintroduction Program in 1985. The program transported 73 eaglets from Alaska and Wisconsin to Indiana, placing them in five cages on top of a 25-foot tower in an isolated area beside Lake Monroe. Researchers watched and fed the birds until they were capable of flying and then released them with leg identification tags so they could monitor where the eagles went.
By 1991, scientists noticed the first successful bald eagle nest near Lake Monroe. Since then, they have spotted a proliferation of nests in several counties. In 2008, the state dropped the bald eagle from its endangered species list, and in 2010, it discontinued its comprehensive survey program.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources estimates that as of 2014 there are 200 to 250 bald eagle nesting areas in the state. We can definitely consider this a win in the fight for animals!