Don't Downlist the Florida Manatee

  • by: Care2
  • target: Jeb Bush, Governor
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is recommending that manatees be downlisted from endangered to threatened status on the state level.

Last year was the second highest manatee mortality year on record. Just in the last five years, 1682 manatees have died in Florida waters and of those, 398 were killed by boats. That is almost an 18% increase over the previous five-year period. Furthermore, state scientists estimate the manatee population could drop by half in the next 50 years because of habitat loss, red tide poisoning and boat collisions. The population is far from stable.

Manatees are poised to be downlisted regardless of how they are faring in the wild because of a calculated effort by special interest groups opposed to boat speed zones and restrictions on development.

Later this summer, the FFWCC will vote on this issue. If the commission approves, restrictions that have kept in check boat speeds, seawalls, docks and waterfront home-building could be diluted or eliminated. Urge Governor Bush to take a stand and keep protections for the manatee in place!
Dear Governor Bush,

Please do not allow the manatee to be downlisted from its current endangered status in Florida. The state has changed the criteria so that a species would have to be near extinction to get the highest protection. The population is far from stable, with serious declines in some regions.

Last year was the second highest manatee mortality year on record. Just in the last five years, 1,682 manatees have died from all causes in Florida waters. That is almost an 18% increase over the previous five-year period. Also, in the last five years, 398 manatees were killed by boats. Thatís a 17% increase over the previous five-year period. Furthermore, state scientists estimate the manatee population could drop by half in the next 50 years because of habitat loss, red tide poisoning and boat collisions. The population is far from stable.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been lobbied hard by developers, boaters and others who maintain that the manatee protection rules are too restrictive and, now that the population is showing signs of recovery, unnecessary. That's like saying that because the number of teenage smokers is going down, the government should relax its efforts to keep teens from picking up the habit. Why mess with success?

[your comment here]

Governor Bush, you once called the manatee your favorite animal. Please do all you can to keep full protections for the manatee intact.

Sincerely,

[your name]
[your address]
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