What does it say about a country that shoots and poisons its national emblem into extinction? This scenario almost played out in America, at least in the lower 48 states.The bald eagle, that majestic raptor that adorns our currency and stands as a symbol of strength and freedom, came perilously close to disappearing throughout its range except in Alaska.
The decline began a hundred years ago with human attitudes that considered all predators, including birds of prey, as vermin and targets of eradication at every opportunity. Bald eagles were randomly shot and without serious protection until the first relevant federal law was passed in 1940. Soon after World War II, a new and devastating threat emerged that swept the species to the brink of oblivion across most of the country.