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The bald eagle is no longer an at risk species in Ontario

Environment Minister David Piccini stands beside a bald eagle. (Francis Gibbs) Environment Minister David Piccini stands beside a bald eagle. (Francis Gibbs)
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The bald eagle has been removed from the list of endangered species in Ontario.

“It’s a big win for Ontario,” Environment Minister David Piccini told CTV News Toronto on the lawn of Queen’s Park Wednesday.

“I mean, talk to anyone now they are starting to see them again.”

The bald eagle has been on the Species at Risk list for about 50 years. Piccini said that banning an insecticide called DDT, which caused nests and eggs to be incredibly fragile, and “collective efforts we’ve made to build a more sustainable environment” were factors in the bird’s recovery.

A little more than 2,600 bald eagle nests were identified last year, officials added.

The decision to remove the bald eagle from the Species at Risk list was made by an independent committee, Piccini added, and not the government.

The bald eagle, known for its white-feathered head, was listed as an animal of “special concern.” This means that it may become a threatened or an endangered species due to identified threats or biological characteristics.

This means the animal did not have the same protections as a species listed as threatened or endangered.

“It's a very common species across Ontario, into Manitoba, Saskatchewan,” Andrea Olive, a professor of Geography, Geomatics and the Environment, told CTV News Toronto. “It's not an imperiled species. Its North American population is secure.

At the same time, she said that it was “very rare” that an animal is removed from the Species at Risk list.

“Most species aren’t recovered or very few ever get delisted and declared recovered, but the fact of the matter is (the bald eagle) would have gone extinct had it not been for the American (Endangered Species Act) or the Ontario (Endangered Species Act),” Olive said over the phone.

“This is a win for conservation. We brought this species back.”

There are more than 200 different species on Ontario’s Species At Risk List.

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