The manatee, also known as the sea cow, is officially no longer endangered. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has downgraded the species from “endangered” to “threatened.” Regardless, all federal protections set by the agency for the manatees will stay in place.
The manatee population numbers at 13,000. The Antillean manatees and the Florida manatees each make up half of this population. The animals live throughout the Caribbean and the southeast U.S., respectively.
Florida’s Manatees Then and Now
In the 1970’s there were only a few hundred manatees in the waters off the southeast coast of Florida. This led to the manatee becoming the first endangered species in 1973. Today, the population of Florida manatees numbers over 6,600. As a result, this motivated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, to take the species off the endangered list.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines that animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.
“Today we both recognize the significant progress we have made in conserving manatee populations while reaffirming our commitment to continuing this species’ recovery and success throughout its range,” stated acting Director Jim Kurth, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Concern and Criticism
“Manatees are still in danger. With ongoing threats posed by boat strikes and habitat loss, we don’t support reducing protections.”
Furthermore, Congressman Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida, declared:
“The decision to weaken protections under the Endangered Species Act threatens the survival of the manatee, one of Florida’s most beloved animals.”
“It needs to be reversed.”
In addition, some environmental groups have voiced their concern. Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, stated:
“We believe this is a devastating blow to manatees.”
“A federal reclassification at this time will seriously undermine the chances of securing the manatee’s long-term survival.”
Some of the threats to manatees include collisions with watercrafts, loss of habitat loss, and harmful algal bloom called red tide.
This article (Manatees are Off the Endangered Species List, but Some are Not Happy) is copyrighted by Awareness Junkie, 2017. You may not copy, reproduce, publish or distribute any content therein without written permission. You may contact us here.