- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Biologists with South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Department say the bald eagle has soared above the threshold for removing the bird from the state’s list of threatened species.

The bald eagle was de-listed at the federal level in 2007, and Wildlife Diversity Coordinator Eileen Dowd Stuckel said the same should be done at the state level, the Capital Journal (https://bit.ly/1eT8Tr0 ) reported.

South Dakota delayed in removing the birds from its own separate, threatened species list so it could gather more data, Stuckel said. She presented a proposal on Thursday at the monthly meeting of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission that called for erasing the birds off the register.

Since about 2004, the five-year average of 25 active nests called for in the state’s bald eagle recovery plan has been met, she said. Recent estimates put the number of active bald eagle nests in South Dakota between 140 and 150.

“We felt it no longer qualified for protection,” she said.

Commission chairman John Cooper said he’s happy to see that the eagles’ population is recovering.

“I can remember when there were less than 200 nesting individuals,” he said. “So this is a good thing.”

The commission is taking public comments on the de-listing proposal. Bald eagles are still federally protected, though the law allows eagles to be killed for a few specific reasons such as research.

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Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, https://www.capjournal.com

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