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Feds Downlist West Indian Manatee To Threatened, From Endangered

Credit: David Hinkle USFWS

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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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor for NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other top news organizations. Her in-progress book on the Everglades is under contract with Johns ... Read Full Bio »