Ignoring ongoing threats, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to downlist Florida manatees from "endangered" to "threatened." Although manatees have returned from the brink of extinction, they continue to be cut down by boats and killed by red tide and other pathogens -- and are also facing critical habitat degradation. It's too soon to reduce protections for these endangered animals.
In making its premature proposal, the Service used a computer model based on incomplete data that failed to take into account recent massive manatee die-offs. And the Service has no plan for reducing boat collisions or addressing habitat loss. Manatees' natural warm-water refuges are diminishing, and the man-made warm-water refuges on which the majority of manatees have come to rely are facing imminent closure.
February 15, 2016 Action Alert ID# 337
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