Where Eagles Dare

i-4770499327c836c7e4b2ef18eab1176f-eaglesdare.jpgYou’ve probably heard that the Bald Eagle was removed from the endangered species list this week. The announcement was rather timely, allowing the media to paste patriotic eagle pictures all over the place around the Fourth of July. It also came not too long after Rachel Carson’s 100th birthday. Carson, author of Silent Spring, was the driving force in saving the eagles, when she showed how pesticides were responsible for thinning raptor eggshells. She passed away several years after Silent Spring was published, so she couldn’t see the eagle’s victorious recovery. Should we be celebrating in her absence? Is this really a victory at all?

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the eagles are recovering while other species are more endangered than ever. What’s the deal? It seems our president only likes to save species when they are symbols of patriotic strength:

"It’s wonderful the bald eagle is recovering - one of the most charismatic and best funded species ever," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who now works for Defenders of Wildlife, an advocacy group. "But what’s happening with the other species? This administration has starved the endangered species’ budget. It has dismantled and demoralized its staff."

Bryan Arroyo, acting assistant director of endangered species for the Fish and Wildlife Service, acknowledges a 30% vacancy rate in the program’s staff, and the fact that the agency’s top position has been left unfilled for more than a year.

"We have a national deficit, and we are in the midst of a war," he said. "We have to live within the president’s budget."

The Bush administration has added 58 species to the endangered list, 54 of those in response to litigation.

By comparison, 231 mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects and plants were protected by the president’s father, George H.W. Bush, during his four years in office.

I guess we knew he didn’t exactly take after his daddy. It is bad enough that species that need protection aren’t making it on to the list, but even the ones that are on the list are getting screwed:

Beyond the reluctance to list new species, a bottleneck is weakening efforts to save those already listed. Some 200 of the 1,326 officially endangered species are close to expiring, according to environmental groups, in part because funds have been cut for their recovery.

Some species are being removed from the lists, as well. In the case of the Bald Eagle, this is assumed to be a good thing. In other cases, removal from the list may have been more in the interests of developers, rather than the species in question.

So, if you were an eagle, how would you be reacting to this news?

Maybe throw a kegger?

i-fc3446d69961cda3a10f0602a39a48d9-eagleparty.jpg

(Click the comic to read the whole thing, by J. Jaques at Questionable Content.)

Or maybe assume you have the upper hand now, and start taking revenge on those negligent humans?

i-9cad714f7cf4269e6842a70c764d7bca-nucleareagle.jpg

(Click on the image to play Nuclear Eagle and read the review and hints just posted at JayIsGames.com, or click here to go directly to the game, created by Brad Borne. I usually prefer to click through the review; Jay uses classy and clean popup windows to start the games, eliminating some of the flashy and distracting ads.)

I must warn you, this game is quite violent and bloody, and will likely bring out the worst in your carpel tunnel syndrome. But there is something about flinging around fuel trucks, exploding things and feeding screaming citizens to your hungry eaglets that makes it fairly irresistible. It’s about time the eagles got one back!

Finally, here’s a bonus video, that has nothing to do with this post, except for my borrowing the title. I’m not sure what the video has to do with the song, in fact. Regardless of meaning, I believe everyone needs a little Misfits in their day:

It would make a pretty decent theme song for revenge-seeking nuclear eagles, though, don’t you think?

Eagle image via Creativity+ on Flickr, comic via J. Jaques at Questionable Content, Nuclear Eagle via Armor Games, and YouTube video by FellatingGnome. (Ok, I just liked his curious handle.)

More like this

Stephen Colbert loves this: bald eagles were removed today from the U.S. Endangered Species List. What Stephen won't like is that the delisting serves as a testament to government regulations and the hard work of environmentalists (such as Rachel Carson and her denouncement of the egg-ruining…
tags: endangered species day, conservation The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting the establishment of Endangered Species Day on 18 May. Endangered Species Day is a national celebration of America's commitment to protecting and recovering our nation's endangered species ..…
Birdwatching might be a casual activity, a hobby, an avocation, or even a profession (often, perhaps, an obsession) depending on the bird watcher, but there is always a science to it, in at least two ways. First, there is the science of how to do it. In this sense, the term "science" means…
You’ve heard of the The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds (The Crossley ID Guides). It is a revolutionary new way to assemble a field guide, where each page has a drawing of what it would look like if suddenly outside your living room there was a full blown habitat for some species of bird, with…

Good day,

This blog is really a nice one... I just can't remember how I stumbled upon your blog though the content is really good. aww I remember now i was researching for burger island since we were required at school to create a program similar to that one. Anyways... keep on blogging ma'am ^ ^

The real moral of the Bald Eagle story is that halting the indescriminate use of DDT was a very good idea--not just for the eagles and all the rest on a long list of species whose rebounds are directly attributable to that move. Let's hope that a similar change of mind about the notion of an ever-expanding economy takes root.

Carel, as always, you make a poignant insight. Thank you!

(And I'm sorry for being out of touch lately... I'm trying to break my hermit habits, but it isn't easy, especially with heat waves and cold viruses.)