Dakota the Bald Eagle
This is Dakota our 8-year-old North American Bald Eagle.
You can see Dakota fly in our summer ‘Eagles of Paradise Display’ (weather permitting) down by the Fun Farm, where he is joined by other birds of prey like Tangee the Palm-nut Vulture and Angelo a Bateleur Eagle. The flying shows run until 1st October 2023 and back again at Easter 2024 for the summer season.
Bald Eagles can reach 30 years of age in the wild and are famous for being the national emblem of the United States of America since 1782.
The species was nearly declared extinct in the late 1970s due to a pesticide called ‘DDT’. It was shortly after World War II when DDT was hailed as a new pesticide to control mosquitoes and other insects. However, DDT and its residues washed into nearby waterways, where aquatic plants and fish absorbed it. Bald eagles, in turn, were poisoned with DDT when they ate the contaminated fish. Thanks to federal protections as well as regulations involving DDT, in 1995 the population had recovered enough for the ‘United States Fish and Wildlife Service’ to change its status from Endangered to Threatened. Then in 2007 with an estimate of at least 9,789 nesting pairs in the United States, it was removed from the list of Threatened and Endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
In 2021, the newest estimates for the Bald Eagle population total 316,700 individuals, which included 71,467 breeding pairs. A great conservation success story. The bird continues to be protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Both laws prohibit killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests, or eggs.