Manatees Are No Longer Endangered Species

Posted: Apr 1 2017, 4:08am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 1 2017, 4:17am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Manatees are No Longer Endangered Species
Credit: Wolfgang Pölzer

Manatees are downgraded from Endangered to Threatened following a population boom

Manatees are no longer an endangered species after a significant improvement in their population around Florida and Caribbean region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday.

However, the marine animal is still not out of danger or completely removed from the list. The stability in population just means change in its conservation status. The animal is now downgraded from Endangered to Threatened species, which is a marker of progress in the species recovery.

Diverse conservation efforts and collaborations by Florida and other manatee states are being credited for this revised status.

“Today we both recognize the significant progress we have made in conserving manatee populations while reaffirming our commitment to continuing this species' recovery and success throughout its range,” said Jim Kurth, the US Fish and Wildlife Service's acting director. “While there is still more work to be done to fully recover manatee populations, particularly in the Caribbean, manatee numbers are increasing and we are actively working with partners to address threats.”

Manatees are found in the waters off Florida and Caribbean. Currently, their total population consists of 13,000 individuals. Of those, more than 6,600 manatees exist in Florida. These numbers came after the aerial survey of Florida manatees in February 2017. That was the record number of manatees spotted in Florida’s water. Also, it was the third straight year when more than 6,000 manatees were counted in Florida.

Federal government considers the Florida’s growing manatee population as a “dramatic turnaround” from the 1970s when only few hundred manatees were remained in the U.S. waters. Due to decline in population, manatees were listed as endangered species in 1973.

In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun a review of the status after observing notable increases in manatees populations year by year. But the most recent survey earlier this year urged US officials to reclassify the species.

While manatees’ revised status represents improvement in their population, many groups are not satisfied with the decision. They believe this untimely downlisting will further imperil the marine creature.

“We believe this is a devastating blow to manatees,” said Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, in a statement. “A federal reclassification at this time will seriously undermine the chances of securing the manatee’s long-term survival.”

Despite being downlist, manatees will continue to be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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