American bald eagles are now thriving according to a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The number of American bald eagles has more than quadrupled since 2009, with an estimated 316,700 soaring over the lower 48 states, government scientists said in the report.
“This is truly a historic conservation success story,” US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a news briefing.
“The bald eagle has always been considered a sacred species to American Indian people and similarly it’s sacred to our nation … The strong return of this treasured bird reminds us of our nation’s shared resilience and the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters that bind us together.”
Bald eagles reached an all-time low of 417 known nesting pairs in 1963 in the lower 48 states due to hunting, habitat loss and insecticides.
But after decades of protection, including banning the pesticide DDT and placement of the eagle on the endangered species list, the bald eagle population has continued to grow.
The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened or endangered species in 2007.