Ban on feeding eagles considered in Alaska

Dec 26, 2005

For decades, eagles have been fed in Homer, Alaska, and the eagle population has soared, as has the tourist traffic, but some hope the feeding will stop.

When the feedings began in the 1970s, the number of eagles had been counted at 10. But at last week's annual Christmas bird count 140 eagles were found in Homer -- many at the local landfill -- reported the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Sunday.

"I can't think of one single reason to come to Homer, Alaska, in the middle of winter if there aren't any eagles," said Scott Bourne, a professional photographer from Gig Harbor, Wash.

Tour companies offer guided photo tours, charging up to $1,700 for five days on top of room, board and travel.

Critics of the eagle feeding say the mobs of eagles are unnatural, and the tradition reduces the predator to the status of dumpster diver and subjects the eagles to disease.

The state Board of Game will consider banning the eagle feeding in Alaska when it meets Jan. 27-29 in Anchorage.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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