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Rehabilitated Bald Eagle Released Into The Wild
November 30, 2004
Mobile, AL—The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service successfully released a rehabilitated, 14-year-old female bald eagle into the wild on Tuesday, November 30, 2004. The release occurred on the 20th anniversary of Alabama’s Bald Eagle Restoration Project.
The event took place at Historic Blakley State Park, a 3,800-acre site in Spanish Fort, Alabama.
“The rehabilitated bald eagle immediately flew off into the wild, and hopefully should live for many years in one of the best natural habitats in Alabama,” says Corky Pugh, Director, Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “This represents our continued commitment to restoring the bald eagle population in Alabama.”
The female bald eagle was injured during a fight with another bald eagle in November 2003 in the Mobile, Alabama, suburb of Chickasaw. A Good Samaritan rescued the eagle from the Mobile River and gave it to Susan Clement with the Mobile Environmental Studies Center who transported it to her veterinarian for emergency care. Later, other veterinarians from the Westside Animal Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, treated the bald eagle for a major laceration on its thigh. The bird’s injuries were so severe that it required several surgeries and had to be treated for several infections.
The Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida had been caring for the bald eagle since November 2003. The organization has cared for more than 30,000 wild animals, including about 15 eagles, since 1982.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has released 92 juvenile eagles (11-12 weeks old) into the wild since the Bald Eagle Restoration Project was established in 1984. As of 2003, there were 53 known active bald eagle nests in the state. Five of the nests are located in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Known nests are monitored each year by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division personnel.
Bald eagles are a threatened species. The population dwindled in the 1950s and 1960s due primarily to the devastating effects of DDT, which was banned in 1972. When the Bald Eagle Restoration Project began in Alabama in 1984, bald eagles had not successfully nested in the state since 1949. That changed in 1991, with two successful eagle nests in Henry and Wilcox counties.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will begin its annual monitoring of bald eagle nesting sites in late December. State wildlife biologists will fly the entire state recording nesting success and number of eaglets per nest in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bald Eagle Recovery Plan. It is important that the public report any eagle nest found to a state wildlife biologist.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes the statewide stewardship and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy them. The department also advises the state government on management of freshwater fish, wildlife, marine resources, waterway safety, state lands, state parks and other natural resources. This includes the administration, management and maintenance of 24 state parks, 23 public fishing lakes, three freshwater fish hatcheries, 34 wildlife management areas, two waterfowl refuges, two wildlife sanctuaries, a mariculture center with 35 ponds and 645,000 acres of trust lands. Other departmental functions include maintenance of a State Land Resource Information Center and administration of the Forever Wild land acquisition program.