Manatees no longer considered endangered species


NAPLES, Fla. The West Indian manatee, a mammal that was in decline for decades, is no longer an endangered species.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Thursday the species is now listed as “threatened,” due to the increase in population. There are currently over 6,000 manatees, compared to only 1,200 in 1992.

Government officials credit conservation efforts in Florida and other manatee states for the species’ steady progress.

But while the existing federal protections will remain in place, Rep. congressman Vern Buchanan believes the change could cause the state and local government to reassess manatee protections.

City officials responded by asking the state to maintain manatee protection zones in Naples Bay, Gordon’s Pass and Mooring’s Bay, as boating collisions are still responsible for 30 percent of manatee deaths, according to state wildlife officials.

State leaders will make a final decision on relaxing some of the manatee speed zones on Apr. 20.

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