Colorado boosts bald eagle protection |

Colorado boosts bald eagle protection

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” With a bald eagle named Adam looking over his shoulder, Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law a bill on Thursday that increases the penalties for poaching a bald eagle in Colorado after the federal government took the bird off the endangered species list.

“This law gives the bald eagle the same status in Colorado as the golden eagle, Rocky Mountain goat, desert bighorn sheep, the American peregrine falcon and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep,” Ritter said as the bewildered bird looked on.

Adam’s handlers said the bird found wounded at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, was nursed back to health and used for research. The bird now has a home at the Birds of Prey Foundation in Broomfield.

President Bush said the bald eagle’s resurgence after a four-decade-old fight was a sign conservation efforts were working. He credited the nationwide resurgence to cooperation between private landowners and federal and state governments.

Ritter said the 42 breeding pairs in Colorado deserve more protection. Penalties now carry a find up to $100,000 and a year in jail.

He also signed two other animal welfare bills, one that bars computer-assisted remote hunting and another that creates an exemption to the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act that would allow animal massage therapy, which is used to improve performance for show animals and racing animals. It is also used to help animals recover from injuries and illness.

Ritter said Colorado has a long tradition of hunting, but he believes computer-assisted hunts violate the spirit of hunting.

“I believe that if you are going to hunt, you ought to be in the same vicinity as the animal you are hunting. It only seems right,” Ritter said.

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