Massive Number of Manatees Revealed in a New Survey

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated that this year, 15 observers managed to count a massive number of manatees, being helped by the sunny weather. The higher than 6,000 manatee numbers can be attributed to favorable weather conditions.

Is the manatee ready for that kind of flexibility?

The survey is conducted to meet a Florida state statute, which requires an annual, impartial, scientific census of the manatee population.

Given the mild winter, Hartley said he continues to see new manatees coming into the park "because they're out traveling in the warm water".

This is promising news considering past year Florida boaters were responsible for almost 100 manatee deaths, which was a new record for the Sunshine State.

But some conservationists' primary concern is heat sources.

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While manatee's have a range that extends from the southeastern United States to the Greater Antilles, they are synonymous with Florida. "The management community has no control over how Florida makes its power or if there's a cheaper alternative or if the plants shut down".

Editor's Note: The West Indian Manatee is still classified as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

People who want to support manatee research and conservation efforts may do so by buying a manatee license plate or manatee decal online.

The foundation has threatened legal action and hopes the Fish and Wildlife Service will adopt the rule change formally in the coming month.

However, in a public hearing previous year and in public comments on the proposal, manatee fans overwhelmingly opposed the change in the listing status. "Comments, including those from peer reviewers, are addressed in our forthcoming final decision".

The state government and conservation groups worked to revive its population, including setting up no-wake zones to protect the mammals. "Existing protections would not go away, and additional protections could be implemented if needed. regardless of the species' status on the ESA list". ASU's Dr. Aslan notes that few species have been downlisted, and most too recently to know how the reclassification affected the population. The agency's other argument for changing the listing: a computer model that shows they now stand little chance of going extinct.

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