The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington announced the bald eagle will be officially taken off the endangered species list in February.
The bureau said the raptors, which now are 15 times more numerous than their 7,000 population in 1963, would be taken off the list but will remain protected, The Washington Post reported Monday.
"By Feb. 16, the bald eagle will be delisted," said Marshall Jones, deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We'll be clear so people won't think, 'It's open season on bald eagles.' No way."
Jones said two earlier laws would ensure the eagle's numbers are protected while maintaining respect for property rights.
"It's not as though we're pulling away the Endangered Species Act and you have nothing else," said John Kostyak, senior counsel at the National Wildlife Federation, which has expressed support for the delisting.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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