BATON ROUGE, LA — The BREC Baton Rouge Zoo  has a new addition to the L’aquarium de Louisiane. A bald eagle has made its perch in the exhibit, and zoo officials couldn’t be more excited.
“The bald eagle’s story is an inspiration and example of what people can accomplish when working together to save and conserve wildlife,” said Zoo Director Phil Frost. “We are honored to have one at the Zoo so people may see this incredible animal up-close.”
The bald eagle was officially adopted as the U.S. national emblem on June 20, 1782. Its wingspan reaches 6-8 feet, and they often mate for life and use the same nest in a tall tree year after year. Their impressive nests can reach five feet across and weigh 4,000 lbs.
The story of this bird and its plight (and subsequent comeback) in the wild is a dramatic one. Many decades ago, the use of the pesticide DDT poisoned the eagles’ foods and weakened eggshells, making them too thin to support the weight of brooding parents. DDT was banned in 1972. That year there were only six or seven nesting pairs of bald eagles in the state of Louisiana.
The Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973 and on July 4, 1976 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially listed the bald eagle as an endangered species. This landmark legislation is regarded as one of the most comprehensive and important wildlife conservation laws in the world. Federal and state government agencies, along with private organizations, began to alert the public about the bald eagle's plight and to protect its habitat.
In July of 1995 the bald eagle was upgraded to “threatened.” There are now around 350 nesting pairs in Louisiana, and an estimated 9,789 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the United States (statistic from 2006).
On August 9, 2007 the bald eagle was removed from the list and declared “recovered.” Only a handful of species have fought their way back from the United States' endangered species list. The brown pelican, the American alligator, and the bald eagle are a few and all three can be seen at the Baton Rouge Zoo.
The new eagle was injured in the wild. He was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, but could not be released because he can no longer fly.
Adults and Teens: $7.00
Children 2-12: $4.00
1 & under: FREE
Admissions open 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Daily
Zoo grounds close at 5 p.m.