Alex Pitts 916-414-6619
Al Donner 916-414-6566
Al Donner 916-414-6566
A highly successful bald eagle breeding program at the San Francisco Zoo that resulted in the reintroduction of over 100 bald eagles to the Channel Islands concluded on June 18 when nine adult birds took a donated FedEx plane ride to a new home at the American Eagle Foundation?s (AEF) United States Eagle Center in Pigeon Forge,
The 16-year program was a successful partnership between the Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) that helped re-establish the national symbol in many areas of the west. Many other partners participated in the program over the years, providing funding and expertise to help the program become a success, including the Institute for Wildlife Studies, California Department of Fish and Game, Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, Ventana Wildlife Society, Bald Eagle Working Group, and the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP). Since 1991, more than 100 bald eagles from the Zoo have been re-introduced to the wild on the Channel Islands. The Zoo?s program was the only large-scale captive breeding program for bald eagles in the western
?The San Francisco Zoo has been a wonderful wildlife partner in restoring our national symbol,? said Steve Thompson, California-Nevada Operations Manager for the Service. ?The Zoo has again demonstrated how partners, in cooperation with the Service, are key to restoring healthy wildlife populations.?
"The San Francisco Zoo is honored to have been associated with the recovery of the bald eagle in
Currently about 70 bald eagles live on the Channel Islands. In the last two years seven chicks have hatched naturally. Starting in 1991, bald eagles raised at the San Francisco Zoo were reintroduced to Santa Catalina Island. This reintroduction program was then expanded in 2002 to included releases on Santa Cruz Island.
This bald eagle reintroduction effort was funded by the MSRP, a multi-agency program dedicated to restoring natural resources that were harmed by the release of millions of pounds of DDTs and PCBs into the ocean by the Montrose Chemical Corporation and other industrial sources in southern
In 1990, the Service?s Environmental Contaminants Program undertook an extensive Natural Resource Damage Assessment. After 10 years of negotiations a settlement was reached, and Montrose and the other defendants agreed to pay $140 million to offset the damage. The Montrose Settlements Trustee Council, a group of state and federal agencies which includes the Service, is responsible for using these funds to restore the natural resources (including bald eagles) injured by the pollutants.
Until 2006, the last successful bald eagle hatching in the wild on the Channel Islands occurred in 1949. By the early 1960s pollution, primarily DDT that caused thin-shelled eggs, had eliminated the birds from the islands.
The Avian Conservation Center (ACC) at the Zoo acquired its first female bald eagle for the captive breeding program in 1985 from a wild nest in
The Service is on track to make a final determination on the bald eagle?s status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by June 29. It is currently a threatened species and the Service has proposed to remove it from that list because of its recovery. National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines and careful monitoring program would continue to protect the bird, as well as its status under the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.