Florida’s manatees are no longer endangered

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There’s a creature that populates shallow waters — slow-moving rivers, saltwater bays, canals and coastal areas — where beds of sea grass and other freshwater vegetation is present.

They are commonly  known as sea cows and are considered to be a migratory species. The species cannot survive in temperatures under 68 degrees, so when the winter comes, they concentrate in Florida’s warm waters, bringing ecotourism to the area.

On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have downgraded the West Indian manatee from “endangered” to “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, Washington Post reports.

“While there is still more work to be done to fully recover manatee populations, particularly in the Caribbean, manatee numbers are increasing and we are actively working with partners to address threats,” Jim Kurth the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director declared.

“State and Federal Biologists saw an upward trend in population size,” Lori Benson McRae, associate biology professor, said. “I’m just cautiously optimistic about that. It means we’re doing something right in terms of management and protection. As well, we do potentially see other resources freed up for other endangered species.”

However, the decision was not welcomed by everyone as many animal rights groups strongly disagree with it. In their opinion, the animal removal from the endangered list could lead to threats to the species in the future.

“My take on endangered species is that it’s really sad,” Victoria Thomae, freshman journalism major, told to Minaret Online. “It breaks my heart because it’s just neglect from humans being carefree and only caring about themselves instead of thinking about the environment.So, I hope that more people start to realize their impact on the environment because that could really help with the progression of ecological conservation.”

“The Fish and Wildlife Service has worked hand in hand with state and local governments, businesses, industry, and countless stakeholders over many years to protect and restore a mammal that is cherished by people around the world,” the Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke said in a statement. Without this type of collaboration and the commitment of state and local partners, this downlisting would not have been possible.”