12-gauging the eagleâ??s recovery

The skies seemed to brighten last week for bald eagles and other avian species whose increased numbers have convinced federal officials to recommend that the national bird and 28 other species be removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

While hailing the federal proposal as an environmental victory, officials from the Florida Audubon Society moved to temper the enthusiasm exuding from the White House. "There continue to be threats to these birds and other species because of habitat loss in Florida," says local Audubon president Clay Henderson, "and we can expect that these birds will continue to be protected here."

Fortunately, other state and federal laws will continue to protect bald eagles and other endangered species that continue to face obstacles, not least from airports. For example, the Orlando Aviation Authority's 1997-98 budget sets aside $8,845 for materials, including a shotgun, to be used in "wildlife control."

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