MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The bald eagle is an American national symbol, and a majestic bird of prey which was put on the endangered species list due to poaching and pesticides. It was consequently removed from the list altogether June 2007, 40 years after having recovered from near extinction.
Now, the population of the bald eagle is rising, but even then, any bald eagle that is found injured is immediately given medical attention in an effort to ensure that these birds of prey do not ever become just an image in the history books.
Recently, a bald eagle was released aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune after it had been rehabilitated to full health. The bald eagle, a three to four-year-old male, was found last year near the same area it was released in Mile Hammock Bay, aboard the base.
“The bird was found on a dirt road near LZ Bluebird by Forestry Fire personnel, Larry Church and Barrett Baker, while they were inspecting an area that had just underwent a prescribed fire burn the day before,” said Les Pearson, biological science technician with the Threatened and Endangered Species Program, Environmental Conservation Branch, Environmental Management Division, MCB Camp Lejeune. “We made phone calls and had it transferred to Possumwood Acres in Hubert. From there it was transported to the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter.”
Pearson would then be informed that the bald eagle was transported to the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, N.C. The center is dedicated to the conservation of countless birds of prey through education and the rehabilitation of injured and orphan raptors.
A veterinarian who examined the eagle said that the blood work came back well and there were no major injuries - the only injury was to the bend of the wrist on the bird.
Then came the day that many people were waiting for. On March 4, after being rehabilitated, Faithful, a three-year-old bald eagle was released, to return back to nature and be free.
“Having this national symbol come off the endangered species list is great,” said Pearson. “This is an awesome bird and were happy to have three active nests aboard the base and also happy to return this one back into its natural environment.”