After 28 years of effort which included releases of over 4,000 captive-raised Peregrine Falcons in 28 states, officials at The Peregrine Fund applauded the 20 August 1999 announcement by the Department of the Interior to remove the Peregrine Falcon from the Endangered Species List.
"When we began the recovery effort in 1970 many people felt it couldn't be done. Since it was the first time a recovery effort of this magnitude had ever been undertaken, I also wondered if we would ever see this day," stated Dr. Tom Cade, Founder of The Peregrine Fund. "It wasn't until 1980 when released falcons returned and successfully fledged young that I really knew we had overcome the large challenges and we could succeed," finished Cade.
"The successful recovery of the Peregrine Falcon is the result of an incredible effort put forth by individuals (biologists, falconers, business people, etc.) who have a passion for this species and nature. They devoted themselves to this effort and it would be short-sighted to credit any particular entity above the individuals who were truly in the trenches making this day a reality. We also must not forget that success would not have been possible without ending the use of DDT, the primary cause of the species' decline," stated Dr. Bill Burnham, President of The Peregrine Fund.
In 1970, there were 39 known pairs of Peregrine Falcons in the lower 48 states. The species was gone east of the Mississippi River and 80 or 90 percent gone in the West. Efforts initiated by Dr. Tom Cade at Cornell University led to the creation of The Peregrine Fund and the recovery of the Peregrine Falcon. At that time, only a handful of Peregrine Falcons had ever successfully bred in captivity in the world and none had been successfully released to breed in the wild.
The project was initiated when Dr. Cade requested that falconers send their few remaining Peregrine Falcons to the project to develop a breeding stock. The first successful hatches occurred in 1973 (20 young produced) and the first release occurred in 1974. The Peregrine Fund's efforts moved west. A facility was established at Fort Collins, Colorado in 1974 and relocated to Boise, Idaho in 1984.
The efforts to save this species resulted in breakthroughs in the field of endangered species research, and scientists from The Peregrine Fund have adapted these techniques for use on other species, including the Bald Eagle, California Condor, Aplomado Falcon, Harpy Eagle, Andean Condor, Philippine Eagle, Mauritius Kestrel, numerous Hawaiian birds, and other species.
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Director of Global Engagement