WASHINGTON (CN) – After a four year legal battle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that American bald eagles in the Sonoran Desert do not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act because the birds are not a Distinct Population Segment of the American bald eagle.
The agency’s action came in response to a 2008 order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona requiring the agency to complete a 12 month status review of the Sonoran Desert bald eagle after the agency decided not to grant protection in its 2006 90 day review of a petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Maricopa County Audubon Society and several native American tribes.
The agency delisted all American bald eagles in the contiguous 48 states in 2007 and had argued, unsuccessfully, that this delisting superseded the petition, and the appeals.
Since 1963, when the Audubon Society estimated that there were 487 nesting pairs, bald eagle breeding in the lower 48 States has expanded to more than 9,789 nesting pairs as of 1999.