Golden eagle populations struggling in Utah and the West

National News

Golden eagle. WWF oasis. Vanzago. Lombardy. Italy. (Photo by: Bluered/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

SNOWVILLE, Utah (AP) — Experts say golden eagle chicks are suffering through the worst season for nestling survival rates at least 40 years.

The Deseret News reports that researchers at the nonprofit Hawkwatch International blame a disease that’s wiping out jack rabbits, a chief source of prey.

Another major long-term threat to the golden eagle and other animals in their ecosystem is raging wildfires that have taken out sagebrush and left invasive cheat grass in its place.

Stopping the destruction caused by fires and human activity is critical for researchers studying the iconic bird protected under federal law.

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