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New bald eagle ambassador is introduced to LBL

Tahahente at the Woodlands Nature Station
Woodlands Nature Station
Tahahente at the Woodlands Nature Station

A bald eagle from upstate New York has been brought to the Woodlands Nature Station in Lyon County.

The eagle, named Tahahente or Mohawk for “the one who leads,” will become the sanctuary’s new eagle ambassador. Its last ambassador, Artemis, a 46-year-old bald eagle, died from natural causes in September 2021.

Eagle ambassadors are used by the Woodlands Nature Center to educate the public about the species and allow the public to see America’s national bird up close.

Tahahente was rescued along the St. Lawrence River in New York by a group of Mohawk tribe members in 2015. Her wing was partially amputated due to a gunshot wound and she lives in an outside enclosure, which better suits her condition.

Bald eagles have been gradually reintroduced to west Kentucky in recent years. The species was in a sharp decline in the U.S. The Woodlands Nature Center has cared for and released dozens of the species over the past several decades.

Naturalist John Pollpeter is the lead naturalist at Woodlands Nature Center. He says the bald eagle is unique because they are apex predators and carry perhaps the most symbolism of any species in the country.

“Even though bald eagles are heavily protected and had a remarkable comeback, poaching, lead poisoning and habitat destruction can still be big factors in their continued recovery,” Pollpeter said in a press release.

According to the Woodlands Nature Center, there were only 400 nesting pairs in the contiguous United States during the 1980s. During that same decade, Land Between the Lakes took part in eagle conservation efforts.

LBL started taking in eagles from areas with stronger populations such as Alaska. Conservationists would then take the eagles’ third hatchling to hacking towers – man-made structures that provide artificial nests for eagles where they can be safely observed.

“Since conservation efforts in 2007 the eagles have been completely taken off the endangered species list,” Pollpeter said. “It's one of the big success stories of bringing eagles back from the brink of extinction.”

Tahahente is now on exhibit at the Woodlands Nature Station. The Station is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday in March and seven days a week in April. For more information about its eagle exhibition, visit the Land Between the Lakes website.

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.
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