Conservation is a way to protect wildlife or the
environment. When the overall number of a
particular animal becomes very low, scientists consider
that animal endangered. If an endangered animalís
numbers keep on dropping they will soon not exist on the
earth anymore. This is what happened to the
dinosaurs. We have found that there are many raptors
around the world that are endangered and need to be
protected. Most often, the decreased numbers in
raptors are caused by habitat change or loss, hunting,
and starvation. Population increases and people
expanding where they live and work cause these things.
People used to be
afraid of raptors. They
didnít care that these birds play an important role in the food
chain. Some people were so scared that they killed lots and
lots of raptors, which almost made some species extinct.
Raptors were also being hunted because they were killing the
farmersí animals such as chickens. Many people who help birds
of prey stopped this craziness in North America. It was very
hard, but they did it and saved millions of species from being
totally wiped out of existence. When our team visited Hawk
Mountain in Pennsylvania, we found out that many raptors were
being hunted there and it was stopped by a couple of concerned
the 1900s, DDT was being used to kill pests such as
insects, and other pests that kill the farmersí crops. DDT is
the name of a pesticide that was used to kill pests, but was
also harming humans and other animals. An example of a raptor
that became endangered because of this is the
The birds were killed because they ate prey that had eaten
something sprayed with DDT. In the beginning, the DDT
caused the females to lay eggs that had thinner eggshells that cracked easily. As a
result very few healthy baby eagles hatched. Later on, the
adult eagles died because they had so much DDT in them from
eating poisoned animals and insects. Thankfully though,
the United States government passed a law that made it so
farmers couldnít use DDT and other pesticides. This helped
to save the Bald Eagle.
For all animals whose numbers were
becoming low in the United States the government passed an act
to protect Americaís endangered species. It was called the
Endangered Species Act. When a plant or animal is on the
endangered species list, a big recovery plan is made to help
save them. Lots of species arenít getting help because
they canít get on the list because it needs more funding and
Today in the United States, people are working hard to save and
protect raptors. Below we have listed some conservation
projects that are being done to help raptors.
Captive Breeding and
Reintroduction Programs: When a group captures many of the
remaining raptors and breeds them in captivity. Once their
numbers increase in captivity they are released back into the
wild. A good example of this is when they captured all of the
California Condors in the 1980s and bred them in captivity.
This was a successful project because their numbers increased.
Raptor Sanctuaries and
Wildlife Refuges: A sanctuary is a place where the raptors are
protected and cared for. It is also a place where people can
study particular raptors. Even farmers try to help with the
conservation of many birds including raptors. They will make
some of their land into a suitable wildlife refuge and area.
This is helpful because it gives a quiet place for many birds who are migrating or just need a nice
place to stay. Old mining sites have been turned into
grasslands in southern Ohio. Raptors like this kind of place
because there are lots of prey there.
These birds are increasing when they are here, so this is a
great conservation effort.
Programs that teach people all about raptors and the importance
of saving them. Many of the sanctuaries we visited did lectures
on raptors. In schools we also can learn about this subject.
Nest Boxes and Nesting
Platforms: Nest boxes and platforms provide places for raptors
to make their nests safely without being disturbed. When we
visited the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center we learned
are losing their natural nesting areas because
old trees are being chopped down and being removed. Many
concerned people are building and placing nesting boxes on the edges
of fields for them to nest in. Nesting
platforms are built on utility poles so eagles donít get hurt.
Centers: This is a place where injured raptors are taken to be
healed. If possible, they are released back into the wild. If
they canít be released back into the wild, the center uses them
to help teach adults and children about raptors. The
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a place our team in the United
States visited and learned a lot from. Also a team member in
England visited the
National Bird of Prey Centre
where she found out lots of information.
Our teammate in Bulgaria found out
that raptors are being protected there by the Bulgarian law. It
is illegal to hunt birds of prey, to cut the trees where they
nest and to have their parts, feathers or talons in
Bulgaria. Even with these laws, raptors still have threats such
as removal of their natural habitat, hunting illegally
(poaching), toxic chemicals, and electrocution by power lines.
Our other teammate in England found that raptors there are
being protected and doing very well. Educating people about
raptors is probably the main reason why they are doing so well.
People in England are asked not to use insecticides and are
encouraged to build nest boxes.
To find out how conservation was
going in other countries around the world our team sent out
emails to a lot of countries where we could find email
addresses. We received emails back from all the continents
except Antarctica. You can find out where we received emails by
looking at our global interview map below. With the ones that came
back we found out that most countries werenít doing as well with protecting raptors as the United States and England
are. We wanted to know why so we made a few lists to
combine the information we got in the interviews. The
lists are below the map.
The interview lists gave us a different picture of bird of
prey conservation than we had before we began the project. At
first, we thought that we would find lots and lots of birds of
prey that were endangered. We found out that there weren't
many in the United States. We wondered why until we read
the interviews and made our lists. It appears as if the United
States has the federal government behind the laws that are made.
Not only do they make laws, but the United States supports
Our interviews showed us that this was not the case in other
countries. Many countries are still experiencing the same
problems that the United States used to have. There is
poaching where people capture and sell birds, hunting, and use
of pesticides all around the world. This seems to happen most
often in countries where the government is not interested in
making laws to protect birds of prey or in supporting people who
care. Any money that these countries get for conservation
comes from people like you and me. It is hard to have really
good programs when the government doesn't help support them.
We feel that it is horrible that the lessons that the
U.S. and England learned aren't having any effect on the rest of
the world. This is not a problem just for 'other countries'.
It is ours, too! Many times, raptors migrate through and
into these countries that have no funding or laws protecting
them. So, we take care of them here and they might be eating DDT
in another country! It's time to think globally.
Everyone in the world needs to recognize that we share the world
with all of its creatures and have a responsibility to leave it
a better place for the future.
Click on number to read the interview.
Phillip. ďRe: Picture Donation.Ē E-mail to Club Web. 11 Feb.
Birds of Prey. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2000.
Christyna. Raptor! North Adams, MA: Storey Books, 2002.
The Condor. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2001.
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