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Public Outcry after Wildlife Officials Allow Eaglet to Die on Webcam

Jun 26, 2014 01:47 PM EDT
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Public viewers were outraged after wildlife officials allowed nature to take its course, refusing to intervene as a baby eagle featured on a webcam died.
(Photo : Pixabay)

Public viewers were outraged after wildlife officials allowed nature to take its course, refusing to intervene as a baby eagle featured on a webcam died.

People across the country called and emailed officials asking them to step in when it appeared two eaglets were abandoned by their parents in a coastal Maine nest.

While it is understandable that people are upset after one of these little eagles died, officials defend their decision, noting that it's not policy to intervene.

"The nest cam is more of a mirror to reflect what's going on with all eagle nests. It's not to be used as a baby monitor to intervene when we see something that makes us feel sad as humans," Erynn Call, a raptor specialist with the state of Maine, said, according to the Associated Press.

"These are wildlife. They're not pets," added Patrick Keenan from Maine's Biodiversity Research Institute, which operated the webcam.

Though, officials did cave into protests last month in Minnesota when they attempted to rescue a baby eagle with a broken wing. But the fact of the matter is hundreds of wildlife webcams document such heartbreaking situations every day. Everything from polar bears to peregrine falcons to clown-like seabirds called puffins, even good things like bears catching salmon or eagle eggs hatching, is captured on film.

In a similar situation two summers ago, viewers watched "Petey" the baby puffin starve on a Maine island because the only available fish were too big to fit in his beak. Officials did not give in then either to protesters' pleas to save him.

"Every year, we show polar bears that are starving while waiting for the ice to freeze. People are like, 'Feed the bears!' No, we're not going to feed the bears," said Jason Damata from explore.org, which has about 50 wildlife webcams running at any given time.

But, some positive news, according to a Biodiversity Research Institute news release, is that Eaglecam1 "is just one of over 600 eagle nests found in Maine." And though the perish of this chick is regrettable, all signs point towards the other chick being successful.

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