The bald eagle, symbol of the United States, is threatened with extinction. The encroachment of?
GV Stream PAN UP TO bald eagle's nest in tree
LV Bald eagle in flight
SVs Other bald eagles in flight (2 shots)
GV & SV Jackson Canyon, Wyoming
GV Bald eagle flying off tree
SV Baby bald eagle in nest
CU Rancher John Turner with golden eagle in his arms
CU Same eagle (2 shots)
GV Ranchers with sheep (2 shots)
GV Dead sheep
GV Bald eagle in flight
Initials S/1444 OS/1458
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The bald eagle, symbol of the United States, is threatened with extinction. The encroachment of civilisation has driven these shy birds to remoter areas -- but even there they have fallen prey to man. Several of the already tiny population of bald eagles have been found dead recently, believed to have been killed by poison laid out by sheep farmers to kill predatory coyotes. And of the mere estimated 400 pairs of bald eagles throughout the U.S.A., only about 40 per cent of these are producing young -- not enough to keep the population stable. On these figures, it is estimated that the species will be extinct by the turn of the century -- unless conservationists can help the bird to survive. This film, shot in Wyoming by a cameraman of the National Broadcasting Company of America, gives an insight to the problem.
SYNOPSIS: The bald eagle, symbol of the United States, is threatened with extinction. This nest, in Wyoming State, is believed to be one of the last in the country. The encroachment of civilisation into the wilds has driven the shy bird into remote areas like this, but even here the species is threatened by man. In the last six weeks or so 48 bald eagles have been found dead -- shot, electrocuted or poisoned. Many of these deaths were deliberately caused.
In Wyoming's Jackson Valley alone, 15 bald eagles were recently found dead by hikers and hunters. A Federal Government investigation discovered they were caused by poison, believed to have been laid out by sheep farmers to kill coyotes. Some conservationists even believe that the poison was laid out specifically for the eagles, who may occasionally kill a lamb.
Other species also fall prey to man-laid traps and poisons -- including the rare golden eagle. One example was a golden eagle recently found by a sympathetic rancher -- the bird was paralysed in both legs by poison, and would have died a lingering death if not rescued.
But other ranchers, especially those who raise sheep, are not so sympathetic. The deaths continue, and now there are only an estimated 400 pairs of bald eagles left in the entire country.
Unless farmers can be stopped from poisoning carcasses, the death toll will mount -- and the whole species will be extinct by the turn of the century. Of those left, not enough produce young to keep the population stable. America's majestic symbol may well follow the Dodo into history.