CROSS-BOR­DER TRANS­PLANTS

Canadian Geographic - - SHARING CAN GEO VIA INSTAGRAM -

Hunt­ing and poisoning in the late 1800s and early 1900s and pes­ti­cide-re­lated re­pro­duc­tive fail­ures in the post­war years meant that only 417 nest­ing bald ea­gle pairs re­mained in the Lower 48 states by 1963 — just a hand­ful of those in the east­ern U.S. DDT was banned in the early 1970s, but the en­dan­gered bald ea­gle needed a boost. In 1983, Mas­sachusetts Fish­eries and Wildlife ex­perts ap­proached Jon Ger­rard and Man­i­toba’s wildlife branch about trans­fer­ring bald ea­gles to their state. Six Man­i­toba-born ea­glets — each taken from nests with two chicks — were soon packed in pet car­ri­ers headed to Mas­sachusetts and New Jer­sey for “hack­ing” (ac­cli­mat­ing to new wild ar­eas), with a dozen more from Saskatchewan go­ing to Penn­syl­va­nia. These and other prov­inces worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice on ea­gle rein­tro­duc­tion pro­grams un­til the 1990s. Mas­sachusetts, where bald ea­gles had been ex­tir­pated since 1905, now has more than 50 nest­ing pairs. New Jer­sey, home to a sin­gle suc­cess­ful nest in 1970, now has around 150, and Penn­syl­va­nia man­ages up­ward of 270 breed­ing pairs. It’s a lit­tle­known story about how Cana­dian ea­gle ex­perts helped save an Amer­i­can em­blem.

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