MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The bald eagle was chosen as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, according to State Handbook and Guide Resources.
This American symbol was one of the first animals placed on the endangered species list with the establishment of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
And while the bird was officially removed from the list July 9, — Camp Lejeune’s Environmental Conservation Department is doing their part to keep it off.
“Over-hunting the bird and its adverse reaction to Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane insecticide have been the primary catalysts in driving the bird near extinction,” said Craig Ten Brink, a wildlife biologist for Camp Lejeune’s Threatened and Endangered Species Department.
When an eagle’s nest was discovered on base in 2000 along New River waterway near Highway 172 bridge, measures were implemented to ensure no base activities interfered with the habitat of the nest, said Ten Brink.
The main threat to the eagle during nesting, which occurs during late fall to mid spring, is low flying aircraft. Camp Lejeune restricts flights during these times to minimize disturbance, he said.
The bald eagle is off the endangered species list but is still covered under the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940.
This act was originally established to prohibit the capture of the birds for commerce and over the years several amendments have been made to cover an increasing variety of threats, according to Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The Bald Eagle needs coastal regions to nest and in some cases is the only hindrance to coastal development,” said Ten Brink.
“The Bald Eagle population has been increasingly thriving for years, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wanted to ensure that the Bald Eagle Protection Act verbiage was amended for current threats to the species,” said Ten Brink.
“My staff and I are not only responsible for health of the Bald Eagle but the survival of all wildlife species on base. Extra attention is focused on the species currently on the threatened and endangered species list,” he said.
Red-cockaded woodpeckers, green and loggerhead sea turtles, piping plovers, rough-leaved loose strife and sea beach amaranth are the wildlife on base currently threatened or endangered.
“The best part of my job is witnessing the revival of a dying species of an animal or plant on base, said Ten Brink. “This reward is two fold, a species is saved and the base is put in good standing with the U.S Fish and Wildlife.”
For more information on endangered wildlife visit www.fws.gov.