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Nature’s Biggest Comebacks

Bald Eagles

Nature’s top 10 comebacks... and a glimpse into our conservation future.

Our scientists have chosen the top 10 comeback stories in nature. These are the places, ecosystems and species that have been brought back from the brink of disaster. See what made the cut from the last century – and what we hope will be on our list in the next.

Bald Eagles

The national symbol of the United States is also a symbol of survival.

In the mid-20th century, bald eagles were driven to the edge of extinction due to hunting, habitat loss and DDT contamination of their prey and habitat, which caused females to lay brittle eggs. By the 1950s, there were only 417 breeding pairs in the contiguous United States. Bald eagles were officially declared an endangered species in 1967, and DDT was banned in the United States in 1972.

Since then, populations have rebounded. Their status moved from “endangered” to “threatened” in 1995 and removed entirely from the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007. Today, from New York to Alaska to our nation’s capital, there are estimated to be nearly 10,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the United States.


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