[/av_textblock] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” custom_class=”] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, December 11, 2004
AMERICAN EAGLE FOUNDATION, TWRA, SENATOR FRIST, SENATOR ALEXANDER AND CONGRESSMAN JENKINS RELEASE TWO REHABILITATED BALD EAGLES ON NASHVILLE’S CUMBERLAND RIVER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As Christmas fast approaches, the American Eagle Foundation (AEF), Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman Bill Jenkins are giving the gift of freedom to two rehabilitated bald eagles named ‘America’ and ‘Patriot.’ The birds were released on Saturday morning, December 11th, on the Cumberland River near Nashville.
“We are honored that Senator Frist, Senator Alexander, Congressman Jenkins, TWRA’s Executive Director Gary Myers and others have joined us to release these two majestic eagles into the wild and celebrate our nation’s precious freedoms,” said AEF President Al Cecere. “I can’t think of a better Christmas gift to give these birds and the U.S.A.”
Both Bald Eagles were injured in the middle Tennessee area earlier this year and brought to the AEF’s birds of prey center at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. for rehabilitation. The adult eagle, America, was probably struck by lightening according to veterinarians, while the immature eagle, Patriot, was blown from a nest in a storm and found emaciated.
The eagles were in critical condition when found and rescued by TWRA officers. They were admitted to two separate middle Tennessee bird rehab centers (Walden’s Puddle and Harmony Wildlife) for initial emergency treatment before being transferred to the AEF for additional care and final recovery. They were released on property owned by former TWRA commissioner Ray Bell (of Ray Bell Construction).
“The release of these beautiful eagles simply renews our commitment to the noble cause of protecting them, which embodies the freedom, spirit and democracy all Americans value and enjoy,” said Cecere.
This year, at the AEF’s request, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman Bill Jenkins (R-TN) sponsored and introduced “Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Act” legislation in the U.S. Congress (S. 2889 and H.R. 4116 respectively). The Senate and House passed the bill by unanimous consent on the last two days of the 108th Congress.
When signed into law by the President this month, the legislation will authorize the U.S. Mint to create and market a special gold, silver and clad commemorative coin set in 2008 celebrating the recovery of the bald eagle to the U.S.A’s lands, waterways and skies.
Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN), Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN), members of the Tennessee congressional delegation and others were actively involved in supporting the bill and working behind the scenes to assure its passage during the 108th Congress.
When sold out, the proposed eagle-themed coin set has the potential to generate approximately $10 million, which would be placed in an AEF-managed endowment that would aid private, state and federal eagle monitoring and protection programs nationwide.
AEF President Al Cecere, his staff and the trained bald eagle “Challenger” recently visited 100 U.S Senate offices to educate elected representatives and their staffs about bald eagles, and garner support for the legislation. More than 40 senators met directly with the AEF and 70 agreed to co-sponsor the bill. Earlier in the year, visits were made to numerous Congressional representatives in the House, and 300 signed on as co-sponsors.
During the Christmas holiday season, the AEF is encouraging the general public to “Give America the Gift of Eagles” in honor of a special friend, relative or armed forces member by participating in its Adopt-An-Eagle program. A non-releasable eagle ($250 donation) or breeding pair of eagles ($500 donation) cared for by the eagle preservation group may be adopted for one year. Sponsors receive a letter, bio and photo relating to their adopted bird. For more information, visit the AEF’s www.eagles.org website.
Over the past 18 years, the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation has become widely recognized as a national non-governmental leader in bald eagle conservation, recovery and public environmental education. Established in 1985, the Federal and State licensed organization operates the world’s largest bald eagle exhibit and breeding facility at its Dollywood based headquarters, where many of its resident non-releasable eagles have successfully reproduced in captivity.
The AEF is dedicated to the recovery and protection of bald eagles and their habitat. It has educated millions of people, captive-hatched dozens of bald and golden eaglets, and rehabilitated numerous injured eagles and other birds of prey.
Since 1985, the AEF has contributed to releasing a majority of the 294 bald eaglets from seven Tennessee hacking sites in cooperation with the TWRA and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Since 1992, the organization has released 80 captive-hatched eaglets into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains area.
The AEF was selected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to participate on its Southeastern Bald Eagle Recovery Team. It provides daily, year-round care to more than 70 non-releasable North American birds of prey, including 35 Bald and Golden Eagles, and has supported various public education and eagle projects in a number of States.