8 animals brought back from the brink of extinction

Once thought destined to be lost forever, these species have rallied to beat the odds.

4 / 9

Bald Eagles Bald Eagles (Photo: visceralimage / Shutterstock)

4 / 9

The Bald Eagle

The national bird of the United States at one point faced a future existence as nothing more than a symbol. Despite numbering between 300,000 and 500,000 in the 18th century, the species quickly declined due to pesticides, hunting and habitat loss. By the 1950s, only 412 nesting pairs remained.

Thanks to the elimination of harmful pesticides (a shift that has helped birds of prey worldwide), as well as federal protections, the bald eagle population today has rebounded to 70,000 individuals.

Bald eagles aren't hard to miss. Just look for their iconic white head – as well as a wing span that can reach 8 feet.

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows