STATES CHRONICLE – On March 30, manatees were erased of the US endangered species list of the Interior Department, and they were reclassified as being threatened species. The robust marine animal known as sea cow appears now to be only threatened by extinction. The reason for this relisting is a rebound of a manatee population called the West Indian manatees located on the coastline of Florida.
Manatees are no longer listed as endangered species
The range of this population extends from the southeastern United States through the basin of Caribbean. The US Interior Department stated that the number of manatee population is larger than 6,600 only in Florida while in the 1970s the number was reduced to a few hundred. The Caribbean countries, environmentalists, and the US government have contributed to 30 years of conservation efforts to make possible this recovery.
The Interior Department claimed that some of the measures which helped to boost the conservation efforts included the redesign of levees and rocks, imposing speed limits on boats and developing manatee sanctuaries. Phil Kloer, a spokesman for the department’s Fish and Wildlife Service, stated that this is a successful story for them since their efforts proved to be helpful.
The population of manatees increased to 13,000 individuals
Nevertheless, the US Interior Department pointed out that the federal protection for manatee will continue to be available. Frank Jackalone, the director of the Florida chapter of the Sierra Club, has criticized this decision of preserving the federal protections, arguing that state and local authorities will ease the rules regarding boat speed limit which was once created to protect manatees.
He also underlined the fact that Florida boaters will see this reclassification as a sign that they are now allowed to increase the speed in areas where manatees live. Last year, about 520 manatees died, and 104 of them died due to watercraft. Jackalone argued that the decision of the US Interior Department did not consider mentioning the impact of closing power plants in Florida which helped manatees stay warm during the cold season with their warm water outflows.
Even if this animal is no longer listed as endangered species, it is more likely to become so shortly. When a species is listed as endangered, it means that it is on the verge of extinction. The Interior Department declared that its total population managed to rebound to 13,000 individuals
Image source: wikipedia