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American Bald Eagle 'Flourishing', Taken Off US Endangered Species List

The U.S. government has taken the American bald eagle off the list of endangered species in the United States, saying the bird's population is now flourishing.

At a ceremony Thursday in Washington, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said there are now nearly 10,000 nesting pairs of the bald eagle in the contiguous United States, compared to some 400 nesting pairs in 1963.

He said that after years of careful study, public comment and planning, the Interior Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are confident in the future security of the bird.

In a statement, President Bush said he is pleased that the bald eagle, the symbol of the United States for more than 225 years, is being taken off the endangered species list.

The bald eagle will still be protected under two federal laws, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The population of the bald eagle had suffered significantly as a result of the now-banned pesticide DDT, which weakened the egg shells of the bird.

The bald eagle was never endangered in Alaska.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.