Should Bald Eagles|Be Bred in Captivity?

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks recommendations on whether the bald eagle and the golden eagle should be bred in captivity.
     Other raptors are bred in captivity under federal raptor propagation permits.
     The agency’s authority to breed the eagles is based on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The MBTA allows the Secretary of the Interior to issue permits for possessing of migratory birds for many purposes. The BGEPA allows bald eagles and golden eagles to be possessed under more restricted circumstances. For example, only golden eagles that are depredating on livestock or wildlife may be taken from the wild by falconers, and bald eagles, no matter what their origin, cannot be held for falconry. Eagles may not be sold, purchased, or bartered under any circumstances, regardless of whether they are wild or captive-bred in origin.
     Bald and golden eagles are the only raptor species protected by the MBTA that are not allowed under the current raptor propagation permit regulations because those regulations do not apply to the two species also protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
     The agency is evaluating whether to amend the regulations to allow some holders of valid raptor propagation permits to breed eagles as they can many other raptor species.
     Most eagles in captivity are held under permits for exhibition/education, eagle falconry, and Native American eagle aviaries. All eagles held for falconry are golden eagles, and most were removed from the wild due to livestock depredation. Most eagles held for exhibition/education and Native American aviaries are nonreleasable bald eagles and golden eagles obtained from permitted rehabilitators. The agency is assessing whether captive-bred eagles should be available for these or other purposes.
     The agency particularly solicits comments on these topics:
     (1) Whether to allow propagation of bald eagles and golden eagles under raptor propagation permits.
     (2) Qualifications and experience necessary to propagate eagles.
     (3) Limits or restrictions that should apply to propagation of eagles.
     (4) Special restrictions that should apply with regard to imprinting.
     (5) Whether propagators should be allowed to hybridize bald eagles and golden eagles with other species of eagles.
     (6) Restrictions on purposes for which captive-bred eagles may be held.
     (7) Qualifications and experience necessary to possess a captive-bred bald eagle or golden eagle.
     (8) Special facilities requirements for propagation of golden eagles and bald eagles.
     (9) Report information that should be required from a permit holder, if any.
     (10) Other conditions that should apply to these permits.
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