Proposal To Downlist Florida Manatee To Threatened Riles Advocates
Manatee advocates are protesting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal that the Florida manatee be downlisted from endangered to threatened.
Fish and Wildlife says improvements in the animal’s habitat and population mean it no longer is endangered.
The federal agency says protections would remain in place for the manatee. But Katie Tripp of the Save the Manatee Club says the change in status would make it harder establish new protections.
“Basically what they said today is, We’re OK with the status quo. We’re OK that manatees are dying of red tide. We’re OK that there’s an unusual mortality event over in the Indian River Lagoon that hasn’t been solved. We’re OK that 80, 90 manatees a year are going to die of watercraft.”
Fish and Wildlife established a 90-day public comment period, welcoming scientific and other information that will help the federal agency reach a final decision.
A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20 in Orlando.
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