[/av_textblock] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” custom_class=”] Pigeon Forge, TN, June 20, 2007 – Two 13-week old Bald Eaglets named ‘California’ and ‘Tennessee’ were released by the American Eagle Foundation from a condo-like artificial nesting tower located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains – to celebrate the first “American Eagle Day” recently approved by Congress. The young birds were hatched at the San Francisco Zoo earlier this year.
“Both birds quickly flew majestically to gain their newfound freedom right after the nesting tower door was opened,” said AEF founder and president Al Cecere. “It was an awe- inspiring sight and a very fitting way to celebrate the first American Eagle Day”.
Early this year, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed a special AEF-proposed resolution to set aside June 20th as “American Eagle Day” – recognizing the Bald Eagles’ dramatic recovery and symbolic role as the USA’s national emblem. Also, elementary school children and Girl Scouts across America wrote letters to President Bush and their respective Governors encouraging them to do the same – with 22 Governors acknowledging their efforts and signing Proclamations so far.
As an additional “American Eagle Day” activity today, AEF staff members ceremoniously released two non-releasable adult Bald Eagles into their “Eagle Mountain Sanctuary” aviary exhibit located on the Dollywood family entertainment park – the world’s largest presentation of non-releasable eagles. The birds placed in the aviary had acquired permanent disabilities due to human-related causes.
Over 300 captive-hatched and translocated Bald Eaglets have been released in Tennessee since the early 1980s. The state had no known occupied bald eagle nests in the early 1980s, but there were an estimated 115 occupied nests and 77 successful nests in 2007 that have fledged about 135 young.
The young eaglets were released into the wilds of Tennessee at a time when the Department of Interior, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other conservation groups are focused on celebrating the national bird’s comeback. The Bald Eagle is scheduled to be “delisted” from Endangered Species Act protection by late June.
Cecere is quick to add that the nation’s Great Seal symbol isn’t out of the woods just yet. “The Bald Eagle will soon be removed from the ESA’s threatened species status, but it has still not fully recovered. The bird’s fight for future survival will be an on-going process. It will cost millions of dollars to monitor and protect nests on private lands nationally for the remainder of this decade and beyond – to substantially return Bald Eagles to America’s lands, waterways and skies.”
The AEF hopes to raise $10 million from the general public for its American Eagle Fund endowment (www.eagles.org) by 2009 – to help monitor and protect the nation’s living symbol of Freedom for future generations. It could receive another $10 million from a U.S. Mint commemorative eagle coin set to go on sale in 2008, which will celebrate the eagle’s successful recovery to America and the 35th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.
“It’s the responsibility of every American to participate in keeping this precious national treasure flying strong and free forever,” said Cecere.
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