National Zoo Opens Bald Eagle Exhibit
by Robert Phillips

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park (SNZP) last week opened its new Bald Eagle Refuge Exhibit during a ceremony attended by government officials and celebrities.

The exhibit, which is the result of a partnership between the SNZP and United States Fish and Wildlife Service, "offers visitors a moving, personal experience with our national bird and encourages an exploration of the eagle's natural history and conservation."

The two birds featured in the exhibit, a female named Sam and a male called Tioga, were donated by the American Eagle Foundation.

The organization, which is based within and largely funded by the Dollywood amusement park, took the birds in from the wild after they were found to have been made permanently incapable of flight by injuries.

"Bald eagles have symbolized our country's freedom and heritage for more than 220 years," said Dollywood founder Dolly Parton. "We are excited and proud that Dollywood and the American Eagle Foundation are donating these two majestic birds to the National Zoo."

"As wildlife habitat loss continues to threaten animal populations, partnerships in conservation have become essential in protecting the diversity of animals and their habitats," SNZP Director Lucy Spelman stated.

"The new Bald Eagle Refuge Exhibit (offers) a close-up view of the American bald eagle while educating visitors — especially children — about our National Wildlife Refuge System," said United States Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton. "Eagles are majestic symbols of America, and zoos and wildlife refuges have played a vital role in protecting this treasured national symbol."

United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Secretary Norton, National Zoo Director Spelman Join
Dolly Parton at Dedication of Bald Eagle Refuge Exhibit

Smithsonian National Zoological Park