This national symbol once was in danger of extinction throughout most of the United States. Loss of habitat, illegal hunting, and the contamination of its food, largely due to the use of the pesticide DDT, destroyed the eagle population putting it in danger of extinction. In 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency took the historic and controversial step of banning the use of DDT in the United States.
In 1782, when America adopted the Bald Eagle as the National Symbol, it was estimated that there were as many as 300,000-500,000 eagles, with about 100,000 nesting pairs. By 1963, there were only 487 nesting pairs remaining in the lower 48 states. In 1978 the Bald Eagle was listed as endangered throughout the lower 48 states, except in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin where it was listened as threatened. In 2007, the Bald Eagle was taken off of the Endangered Species List thanks to the banning of DDT, public conservation and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Today it is estimated that there are more than 5000 nesting pairs and over 70,000 Bald Eagles in The United States of America.