(By Samantha Mathewson writing for Nature World News)
The West Indian manatee, or sea cow, should no longer be considered endangered, as it seems that Florida populations are making a comeback. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed to downlist the manatee from an endangered to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“The manatee is one of the most charismatic and instantly recognizable species,” Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior, said in a news release. “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.”
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