NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Zoo has officially added a new member to the family! This time, they have adopted a 9-month-old bald eagle named Sanibel.

The bald eagle was named after Sanibel, Florida, where she hatched around April 2022.

She was found at the base of her tree, emaciated and injured when she was just 12 weeks old.

Sanibel lived in two rehabilitation centers over the course of 2022. During this time, she learned how to perch and how to interact with other eagles, but her last rehabilitation center quickly found that Sanibel had become more attached to humans than to other eagles and deemed her non-releasable to the wild.

Once word got out that there was a bald eagle in need of a new home, the Virginia Zoo says it quickly began applying for permits, and now, Sanibel has found her new home.

Bald eagles were once considered an endangered species due to hunting, lead poisoning, and pesticide poisoning they contracted due to eating certain fish. In 1940, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was created to prohibit the taking, trading, and possession of bald eagles, their eggs, nests, or feathers without an official government issued permit. This, combined with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, has led to better conditions for bald eagles, less injuries, lower death tolls, and allowed bald eagles like Sanibel to officially be removed from the endangered species list in 2007.

Officials say that Sanibel is smart, a fast learner, and adjusting to her new home quickly. She is expected to make her first public appearance in late spring.