Boaters react to new law that could threaten manatees, other endangered species

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The White House is reviewing a proposal that would lift protections of threatened animal species. That means Florida’s manatee population could lose its protected status.

“I find it really sad because you know, the manatees or any animals…they don’t have a voice,” said resident Carmen Nagel.

The proposal is titled, “Removal of Blanket Section 4(d) Rule”. The rule allows the wildlife service to issue regulations that help protect threatened species.

Patricia Johndro enjoys seeing the manatees when she visits Florida, but wants to learn more about why the White House would propose this removal.

“It’s much too soon to say, things have to be taken into review and taken a look at,” she said.

But manatees have other problems, too. They are often the victims of boats and boaters driving too fast in certain channels.

Sam Yaffey has lived in Cape Coral for 22 years and has noticed boats going through canals a little too fast.

“A beautiful, nice day like today…just take your time and enjoy it and be thankful you live in such a wonderful place,” he said.

Chrissy Martinez, who has lived on her boat for seven years, agrees that it’s best to take it slow.

“We have to slow down. We have a dinghy over there in the water and we don’t even speed in the dinghy because we love manatees,” she said.

But not all boaters agree with Martinez. A route on the Caloosahatchee River was dubbed ‘Miserable Mile’ by boaters who dread the slow speed.

An endangered species expert says that easing or removing the protections could help oil and agricultural companies who must avoid killing or harming habitats of at-risk species.

“When you see the manatees over here with scratches all over them from boats and stuff, they do need protection,” Nagel said.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Loggerhead Sea Turtles, several types of crocodiles and alligators, and even the Gopher Tortoise are other at-risk animal species that could be potentially harmed by this proposal.

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