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Publication Date

Fall 2016


The Navajo people use eagle feathers in numerous ceremonies ranging from graduations to protection. The process to get eagle feathers legally requires countless paperwork for the US Fish and Wildlife and a wait time of around two to three years. Thus the black market for feathers has grown exponentially (Jenkins 2005). The Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Garden has implemented a recent plan in 2012 to release naturally shed feathers from their four captive Golden Eagles to the tribal people with proper permits. This process still requires paperwork, but the time span of filing for a feather and actually receiving one is only two to three months. I hypothesized that this ability to release feathers to its tribal members has decreased the rate of poaching. I worked closely with the Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Garden, as well as the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife, organizing and searching through field collected date from the past ten years. We found that while poaching is still increasing it is now doing so at a much slower progression, especially among juvenile birds.

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholarship



AISES National Conference, AISES Regional Conference