Golden eagle populations fighting in Utah and the west

Golden eagle populations fighting in Utah and the west

On another day, Steve Slater and Maloney are southwest of the Great Salt Lake at Dugway Proving Ground. U.S. soldiers are flying drones. Some are off the shelf, some are military-issued. As the drones climb into the sky, Robbie Knight feels a flutter. He looks at the images on a touchscreen from the ground below and his heart rate, like the drones, is beginning to climb. This, he thinks, is a honing of U.S. military skills capable of defending not only this country, but her allies, and it is all playing out in front of him at one of the most important, special places in the constellation of Department of Defense assets — Dugway Proving Ground west of Tooele.

A team is with him. They have plenty of water, plenty of energy, but will they have plenty of success? Maloney, with two ropes as anchors, is rappelling down a cliff, the Deseret News reported. They’ve gone 150 miles in this day, in this quest. Their goal is to find a baby, but not just any baby. But the question remains. Will they find this baby, this baby that is so special?

There are days when there are success stories for Maloney and the others. After rappelling down a cliff in an area near Lucin, in northwest Utah’s Box Elder County, he finds a baby. At a spot in Lakeside Mountains, after hiking up a steep hillside with no trail, Maloney ropes up to take a peek. He finds two bodies.

When he returns to the top, he is matter-of-fact. “The birds are dead.” This has been the worst season for nestling survival rates of the golden eagle that Slater has seen in at least 40 years.

LifestyleTenants prepare for unknown as eviction moratorium endsMask guidance divides parents heading into new school yearAt small Serbia border village, migrants describe pushbacks Both he and Maloney are with the nonprofit Hawkwatch International and blame a disease that is wiping out the population of jack rabbits, one of the eagles’ chief source of prey. “It is definitely not a super positive picture for golden eagles at this point,” said Slater, who is the organization’s conservation science director.

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