The Bald Eagle As An Endangered Species

1334 words - 5 pages

The Bald Eagle as an Endangered Species

The bald eagle is the most well known endangered species because it is the nation's symbol. It is suppose to stand for freedom and the American way, but if we allow the bald eagle to become extinct how can we let something that doesn't exist anymore stand for freedom and the American way. Being the symbol of the nation, the bald eagle was put on the endangered species list faster than most species. When the bald eagle reached its low point in the 1960's (400 pairs), it was put on the endangered species list. The many federal acts or programs, the "Endangered Species Act" being the most effective, that were created for the bald eagle show how much the government cares about the symbol of our nation. There are four major reasons why the bald eagle is an endangered species.

The first reason why the bald eagle became an endangered species is the pesticide DDT. This pesticide is a major reason because the pesticide did not really affect the eagles who absorbed the pesticide, but the pesticide made the shells of the eggs too soft. Because the shells were soft the eggs could not make it until they were ready to be hatched.

Graham Jr., the author of the article "Winged Victory," states that:

The species continued a steady decline into the 1950's, when its extirpation south of Canada came close to reality. Protective laws were by then no help. Evidence began to build that DDT and other long-lived insecticides, made available to the public after World War II, were draining off of heavily sprayed farms and forests and contaminating aquatic food chains. Living at the top of those food chains, bald eagles accumulated the toxins in their tissues. (2)

Graham makes the point that the that the pesticide DDT is a reason for the bald eagle becoming an endangered species by expressing the fact that the pesticide DDT affects the eggs of the eagles. Since it affects the eggs, the population of the eagles suffer, and the bald eagle gets closer to becoming endangered species. "The bald eagle came dangerously close to extinction from eating fish that had been poisoned with the pesticide DDT. The birds that did not die immediately after eating the either could not reproduce or the shells of the eggs it laid were so thin that the babies could not survive" (Cessina B. Cornella 51). Cornella focuses on the point that sometimes the eagle will die from the pesticide itself. When an eagle dies, it not only lowers the population by one, but it also lowers it by how many offspring the eagle would had, therefore, pushing the bald eagle closer to becoming an endangered species.

The second reason why the bald eagles became an endangered species is hunting. Before the bald eagle was declared an endangered species, they were hunted as any other animal was. Despite being the symbol of the nation, the eagles were still considered a nuisance and were shot on sight. This ignorance brought the bald eagle closer to becoming an...

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