Feds Downlist West Indian Manatee To Threatened, From Endangered
The West Indian manatee no longer is considered endangered.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Thursday it will downlist the animal to threatened.
The federal agency cites gains in the West Indian manatee’s population and habitat. Some 6,600 are believed to be in Florida, up from a few hundred in the 1970s.
But Pat Rose of the Save the Manatee Club says the assessment does not include large die-offs in 2010 and 2013.
“One of the big differences between an endangered species at the federal level and a threatened species is how they can be impacted by growth and development and impacts on their habitat.”
He worries the change will encourage development that will harm the manatees’ habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says federal protections will not be diminished.
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