The gentle and roly-poly West Indian marine mammals have been reclassified as ‘Threatened’ under ESA.
The West Indian Manatees and Green Sea Turtles are no longer endangered. The Marine mammals Manatees have been reclassified as under the status ‘Threatened’ under the ESA.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has also reclassified Green Sea Turtles. Manatees are making a comeback since their alarmingly low numbers have started increasing.
In 1991 the Manatees population was considered very close to extinction. Since then the Manatees population has increased going from 1,267 manatees to approximately 6,300. It was reported by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the 7th of January, the species is no longer endangered.
“The manatee is one of the most charismatic and instantly recognizable species,” said Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior.
“It’s hard to imagine the waters of Florida without them, but that was the reality we were facing before manatees were listed under the Endangered Species Act. While there is still more work to be done to fully recover manatee populations, their numbers are climbing and the threats to the species’ survival are being reduced. Today’s proposal is a positive step that recognizes the progress citizens, conservation groups, the State of Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and our own Service employees have made working together.”
The Manatees also known as sea cows are large herbivorous mammals. The fully aquatic mammals can grow up to 13 feet. The Manatees can also weigh up to 1,300 pounds.
The name Mantees was derived from the Carribean word ‘Manati’ meaning breast. Manatees spend half of their day sleeping and those found in Florida can live up to 60 years.
Similarly more than 14,152 nests of green sea turtles have been discovered by scientists. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service promptly decided to label them threatened, but in no way endangered.
“The manatee’s recovery is incredibly encouraging and a great testament to the conservation actions of many,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director in conjunction with an event at the Miami Seaquarium to announce the Service’s proposal.
“Today’s proposal is not only about recognizing this progress, but it’s also about recommitting ourselves to ensuring the manatee’s long-term success and recovery.
“As part of its balanced approach to the recovery of the manatee, the Service recognizes that even as it proposes to update the manatee’s status under the ESA with this proposal, it may at times need to strengthen protection for the species in specific local areas,” Dohner added.
“For example, the Service is reviewing comments on a proposal to establish greater protection for manatees at Three Sisters Springs, which is part of the agency’s Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge north of Tampa, Florida.”
The threatened status applies to green sea turtles in Mexico’s pacific coast and in Florida. The green sea turtle is also called the black turtle and the green turtle.
Although both species are no longer endangered many critics have challenged the decision. Llewellyn Ehrhart is a professor at the Central Florida University.
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According to Ehrhart the decision could lead to the extinction of the species. People are once again going to exploit them and their populations are going to decrease. The species will then be considered endangered again and require more protection.