Friday, June 8, 2012

Dead eagles: a different sort of cadaver shortage

A different sort of deceased donor waiting list: A Repository for Eagles Finds Itself In Demand

"the National Eagle Repository [is] the only place where American Indians can legally obtain bald and golden eagles from the federal government for traditional ceremonies.

"Through a series of federal acts dating to the 1940s, bald and golden eagles have been fiercely protected. It is illegal to hunt the birds and also to collect feathers or eagle parts without the proper permit.

"And so, for more than 30 years, this United States Fish and Wildlife Service program has been shipping thousands of eagle carcasses and parts to American Indians, who view the animals as sacred.

"But a growing backlog of applications, and a slew of recent court battles over when American Indians can lawfully obtain eagles on their own, has raised questions about whether the repository is sufficient.

"Currently, tribal members seeking an immature golden eagle, the most coveted bird, must wait about four and a half years. Wait times for a bald eagle are two years. Despite the efforts by the Wildlife Service to ship animals as swiftly as possible, the waiting list has swelled to more than 6,000 applications.

National Eagle Repository

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