Florida’s West Indian manatee
has been on the federal government’s endangered species list since that list
was created back in 1967.
That might change in the near future if the group Pacific Legal Foundation gets its way. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to consider moving sea cows to the “threatened” list, which would provide them with less protection than their current status.
The legal foundation represents the group Save Crystal River Inc., which says new federal rules that require boats to slow down in Kings Bay in the winter and summer both to protect manatees go too far.
While some studies have come out suggesting the manatee population is more stable than in the past – one even conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Service – opponents say the future remains shaky for Florida’s sea cows.
Save the Manatee Club president Pat Rose points to the record number of manatees that died in 2010 – a total of 766 – as evidence that a reclassification might not be a good idea.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing public comment on the possible classification change through Sept. 2. Input can be submitted in two ways, according to a Fish and Wildlife Service media release:
- “Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Keyword box, enter Docket Number FWS-R4-ES-2014-0024, which is the docket number for this action. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen under the "Document Type" heading, click on the "Proposed Rules" link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on "Send a Comment or Submission."
- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0024, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.”
What do you think should happen here? Is it time to move manatees off the endangered list? Tell us by commenting below!