Sunday, March 13, 2016

Manatees No Longer Considered Endangered

Cassandra Craig

As of January 2016 manatees were no longer considered an endangered species. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said on Jan. 7 that Florida's manatee population has recovered enough that the species no longer meets the definition of "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act” (Huffington Post).  The U.S Fish and Wildlife service considered relisting the manatees as “threatened” which wouldn’t change any current protections for them. Based on the best scientific technology available the wildlife service thought it was best to move them off the endangered because they were no longer in danger of becoming extinct. 

When an animal is listed as endangered it means that that species is in imminent risk of extinction while threatened means they could be come endangered in a foreseeable future. The Florida manatee population has grown from the hundreds in 1967 to more than 6,000 counted last year in a statewide survey, which is a 500% increase. If they were to relist the manatees as a threatened species they would be ignoring the ongoing threats to their survival.

 The biggest threats to manatees in the US are boats, cold water, toxic algae blooms, pollution, and fishing nets (Huffington Post).  In other regions they are threatened by significant habitat loss.  There needs to be a viable plan set up for reducing the threats from boats and for preserving a warm water habitat before down listing the Manatees to threatened. 

A Florida business group and the conservative Pacific Foundation want to reclassify the manatees to threatened because they think the population is still recovering.  From 2010-2013 Manatees suffered huge losses from the cold water and the toxic algae blooms. The Manatee still remains protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and a 90-day comment period began in January for the public to submit scientific feedback to help reach a decision on what to do. If the ne classification is approved it will not take affect until 2017. Even though Manatees are no longer endangered there still is a lot of work to be done.

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