There were once only a few hundred Florida manatees left.
So they were listed as endangered in 1973.
And, as hoped, their numbers grew again.
So, if the Florida manatee is no longer in danger, shouldn’t they be removed from the endangered list?
Yes and no.
Though there are now over 6,000 Florida manatees in the wild, their status has been changed from “endangered” to “threatened”.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service changed their status due to an increase in manatee numbers in the Caribbean region of around 13,000 (half of which are in Florida).
This was done to make room for others who needed the services and protection that the “endangered” label provides. What put them on the endangered list? Unfortunately, it’s human interference. Manatees die from boat propeller impacts and habitat loss. Because neither of these root causes has been addressed, the risk of a further decline in manatee numbers is high.
Florida Manatees Are Not Safe “Manatee numbers have never truly recovered, as the animals must contend with a barrage of manmade threats,” the Center for Biological Diversity stated. Boat collisions kill approximately 87 manatees each year, the leading cause of premature death. In fact, the Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that killing seven manatees will not harm the species’ recovery. Meanwhile, boating in Florida is increasing… and despite 2016 being the deadliest year for manatees, the (US Fish & Wildlife) Service downlisted the manatee from endangered to threatened in 2017.
Many people agree, and believe the move threatens the future of manatees. Removing the safeguards that allowed manatees to reproduce will reduce their population.Then we’ll start over.
But let’s not overlook the good news.
The manatee population in the Caribbean and Southeast US is now around 13,000 strong. About half are Florida manatees. In the 1970s, only a few hundred remained. So the extra care and protection given to these gentle giants had a positive effect.
Sadly, there are only so many resources that can be used to protect endangered species, and their status must be constantly checked.
It’s easy to see how removing their protections would have a negative impact on their numbers.
Will the Florida manatee’s status need to be reviewed again?
It seems likely if the deaths continue at this rate.