American Bald Eagle Species In Arizona Won't Be Added To Endangered List

Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 10:54am
Updated: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 4:55pm

The iconic bald eagle found on the United States quarter nests along Arizona's northern canyon walls.

But, a federal court ruled Monday that if the specific Sonoran Desert Area bald eagle species were to go extinct, it wouldn't make a real difference to the eagle population as a whole.

It's a decision based primarily on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study, which determined there is "no evidence of distinctive traits or genetic variations among the Sonoran Desert Area population that suggests loss of the population would have a negative effect on the bald eagle as a whole."

Daniel Rohlf, an attorney representing the Center for Bio Diversity and the Audubon Society, said its "unfortunate" and accused officials of ignoring information from its own earlier studies that showed the Sonoran Desert Area eagle is a specific species worth protecting.

"Now the agency has essentially said, 'Oh, never mind. This population of eagles, that are able to persist in the desert, really aren't that important overall anyway,'" said Rohlf.

An earlier study submitted by the Center for Bio Diversity, using data from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, estimated the American bald eagles living in Arizona could vanish before the end of this century.

However, Nathan Gonzalez with the AZGFD said looking at today’s eagle population, the species is the strongest it has ever been. Currently, there are 85 breeding areas in the state, up from 56 a decade ago.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated with new information from the AZGFD.

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