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Videos: Bald Eagle Gains Independence (Briefly) At Dodger Stadium
The bald eagle, despite being a national symbol, has not always been treated with reverence. For decades they had been hunted for fun, and the use of DDT caused major issues. Things were so bad that, in 1963, it was estimated that there were only 417 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the Lower 48, according to the National Wildlife Foundation. But, thanks to conservation efforts, the bald eagle population has bounced back. They're no longer listed as endangered.
That doesn't mean they forgot what we did to them, however. On Monday—the day of America's independence—one eagle (briefly) escaped its handler at Dodger Stadium and went on a flight for freedom. It happened during a pre-game show: the eagle (loaned from the Los Angeles Zoo) was released from above the top deck and was expected to fly to a trainer waiting at center field. The eagle flew past its master, however, and kept coasting into the pavilion area, reports the L.A. Times. The funniest part is when a couple of zoo workers are seen running after the bird.
The scene was dramatic. Just as the U.S. said "buh-bye" to the British Empire in 1776, the bald eagle said "sayonara" to Vin Scully and employees of the L.A. Zoo.
Its independence was short-lived, however. According to AP, a few innings into the game the Dodgers announced that the eagle had been found.
Happily, our bald eagles are fine + safely back at the Zoo. Although he missed his mark, Chinook waited by the van for his trainer— Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens (@LAZoo) July 5, 2016
Maybe it had a change of heart? Either way, Chinook got its taste of freedom for a few precious moments. The eagle showed total disregard for the crowd of 47,000-plus spectators. It was as American as it gets.
Here are a couple videos of the inspiring display of freedom: