By Eliott Rodriguez

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Not only is the bald eagle a symbol of America and its greatness, but it’s also a poster child for efforts to save endangered species from extinction.

“This animal was nearly extinct back in the ’70s,” said Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill. “But thanks to people banning pesticides like DDT it managed to come back and is not even endangered anymore.”

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South Florida has two resident celebrity bald eagles named Ron and Rita. The injured eagles moved into a man-made nest where Rita gave birth to two baby eagles who later flew the coop.

“These birds successfully fledged. It’s a wonderful story of how people can help animals and we can both co-exist,” Magill said. “Ron and Rita’s nest is in a residential neighborhood, so for Earth Day it shows how people and animals can live together, helping each other in many ways.”

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Ron and Rita aren’t the only eagle success story. Last year, a young bald eagle fell 85 feet from its nest in South Miami. It spent five months at Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, where it was nursed back to health and released inside Everglades National Park last August.

“This is a very important time,” Magill said. “If we continue on our current trajectory, we could lose one million species of animals in the next 50 years. People need to know that what they do can make a difference, whether it’s conserving water, stopping using single-use plastic, or eating less meat. Everything helps.”

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Magill said eagles like Ron and Rita represent a success story that shows man and animals can live together. He said Florida has more bald eagles than any other state excluding Alaska.

Eliott Rodriguez