Wildlife Learning Center home to 2 bald eagles

Wirh people from around the world intently following the Big Bear eagle cam featuring Jackie and Shadow, sanctuaries like the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar are getting more inquires about the majestic birds. 

After all, they are home to two bald eagles who were taken in years ago. Dakota and Denali were injured in the wild and can’t be re-released to the wild. 

But they are quite the experience to behold in their large enclosure, along with many other animals from owls to sloths that can’t fend for themselves any longer.

The Wildlife Learning Center prides itself in educating visitors about the biggest threats to wildlife, which are directly related to humans. 

Before it was banned in the US, DDT entered the bloodstream of fish that eagles ate. The DDT made the birds’s eggs so brittle that the eagles almost became extinct and remain on watch lists today.

Now it’s rat poison that is threatening our wildlife, says Wildlife Learning center founder David Riherd.

Riherd adds it’s been detected in more than 80% of bobcats across California. Owls and hawks are being poisoned and even humans. In 2021, there were over 3,000 cases, including at least 2,300 involving children younger than 5, according to the American Association of Poison Centers.

Now, California has in effect a moratorium on  rodenticides, but allows exceptions for its use, including agriculture.

For Sandy Steer, with the Friends of Big Bear Valley and is the woman behind the nest camera, it’s hard to believe that pesticides remain in use and hopes people looking at Shadow and Dakota realize not only how precious they are, but how precious life is. 

Riherd echoes the sentiment, emphasizing that humans will not survive if the ecosystem we live in is destroyed -- and the biggest threat to our own survival is us!

if you want to visit with Dakota and Denali, the center accepts visitors of all ages. For more about rodenticides in California, click here for more information.