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Trooper rescues injured bald eagle on Indiana highway

Bald Eagle Troomer Ames.jpg
Posted at 8:28 AM, May 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-11 06:33:48-04

VERMILLION COUNTY — An Indiana State Police trooper got quite the surprise when he stumbled upon an injured bald eagle while on patrol on Tuesday.

According to ISP Sgt. Matt Ames, Master Trooper Mike Laney was patrolling on SR 63 when he came across the injured bird.

"Laney carefully placed the injured eagle into his patrol car and transported it to a local veterinarian," Ames posted on his social media acounts.

The post also included a photo of the injured bird wrapped in a blanket in the passenger seat of Laney's cruiser.

Although the Bald Eagle was removed from the federal government's endangered species list in 2007, they weren't removed from Indiana's list of endangered species until just two years ago.

The majestic raptors had all but vanished in Indiana by the late 20th century due to habitat loss, pesticide use and other factors, with the last bald eagle nest recorded in the state in 1897.

But Indiana is now home to such a large bald eagle population that the state Natural Resources Commission removed the birds' designation as a state species of special concern in 2021.

State wildlife biologists estimate that in 2020 there were about 300 bald eagle nesting pairs across 84 Hoosier counties.

The birds remain protected by state and federal laws. The Department of Natural Resources says anyone who sees a bald eagle in Indiana should observe the birds, their nests and roosts from a distance of at least 330 feet (100.6 meters) to avoid disturbing them.

Bald eagles were reintroduced to Indiana by the department between 1985 and 1989, when 73 eaglets from Alaska and Wisconsin were raised at southern Indiana's Monroe Lake, just southeast of Bloomington, and released when they were old enough to fend for themselves.

That effort returned a breeding population to Indiana. In 1991, the state recorded its first successful bald eagle nesting, signaling that the native species was on a rebound.

The bald eagle reintroduction program was Indiana's first endangered species restoration project. Those efforts are primarily founded by donations to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund.