WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- American bald eagles, declared endangered in 1967, are again flourishing and are no longer imperiled, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said.
Kempthorne, accompanied by representatives of several conservation organizations, had a Thursday ceremony at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington to announce the removal of the bald eagle from the U.S. Endangered Species List.
"Today I am proud to announce: the eagle has returned," said Kempthorne. "In 1963, the lower 48 states were home to barely 400 nesting pairs of bald eagles. Today, after decades of conservation effort, they are home to some 10,000 nesting pairs, a 25-fold increase in the last 40 years.
"Based on its dramatic recovery, it is my honor to announce the Department of the Interior's decision to remove the American Bald Eagle from the Endangered Species List."
Kempthorne emphasized bald eagles will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both federal laws prohibit killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or eggs.
The national bird of the United States, the bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America.