Alexander Statement on “Challenger” Visit to U.S. Capitol

Posted on April 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after welcoming Challenger the American Bald Eagle to the U.S. Capitol:

“Today the American Eagle Foundation is in town to celebrate the recovery and restoration of the American Bald Eagle, the national symbol of the United States, and I’m proud as a Tennessean that the American Eagle Foundation of Pigeon Forge has played a leading role in preserving this magnificent bird,” Alexander said. “I had a great time welcoming Challenger to the U.S. Capitol.”

In 1963, the number of nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states dropped to about 417. By 2007, that number had increased to approximately 10,000 nesting pairs, an increase of approximately 2,500 percent from 40 years ago. Because of this success, the U.S. Department of the Interior officially delisted the bald eagle from both the “endangered” and “threatened” species lists under the Endangered Species Act on June 28, 2007.

In 2010, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution authored by Sen. Alexander (R-Tenn.) that designated June 20th as “American Eagle Day,” and encouraged educational entities, businesses, conservation groups, government agencies and others to collaborate on information about bald eagles for use in schools. The measure also highlighted the U.S. Mint’s Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program, which raised approximately $7.8 million for the American Eagle Foundation, located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to support efforts to protect the bald eagle.

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