Published: Sat, April 01, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jose Becker

Feds Downlist West Indian Manatee To Threatened, From Endangered

Feds Downlist West Indian Manatee To Threatened, From Endangered

"Endangered" means the species is in danger of going extinct, while "threatened" means they are likely to progress to endangered in the future.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that the manatee will instead be designated "threatened" - a status change that reflects a boom in population over the last decade.

Anne Harvey Holbrook, SMC's Staff Attorney explained that "this reclassification comes at a time when manatees are experiencing extreme and uncontrolled threats to their survival".

Now Florida waters are home to more than 6,000 manatees.

And GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida tweeted that the "decision to weaken manatee protections" was "HUGELY disappointing". In 2016, there were 520 deaths, more than 100 of which were caused by boats and other watercraft. That makes them too dependent on artificially warm water, the club says. In addition, the group called out President Trump for threatening to do away with environmental regulations, including those that protect wildlife and water quality.

But the manatee's considerable improvement alone would not have been enough to get the federal government to reclassify the manatee.

"The manatee will also continue to be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act".

As Dr. O'Shea noted, however, the FWS may have overlooked multiple dangers that manatees still face.

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A young manatee swims at a zoo in France in 2017.

Emoji died three months after his rescue.

Her organization represents Florida residents who formed Save Crystal River.

Several environmental groups have already said they'll sue to overturn the decision.

Increasing manatee access to several Florida natural springs while establishing sanctuaries for the wintering manatees in those areas during winter cold snaps.

The Fish and Wildlife Service emphasized in its announcement Thursday that existing federal protections for manatees would remain in place, despite their removal from the endangered list.

"The Florida manatee population has continued to increase", Larry Williams, the agency's state supervisor, said at a press briefing.

The reclassification follows years of lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Pacific Legal Foundation. "Without this type of collaboration and the commitment of state and local partners, this downlisting would not have been possible".

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