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Manatees could lose 'endangered' status

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Old 04-09-2007, 11:03 AM
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Default Manatees could lose 'endangered' status

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070409/...gq1fOuzlZH2ocA

From Yahoo News today....

Manatees could lose 'endangered' status 1 hour, 26 minutes ago



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service might reclassify the manatee as threatened instead of endangered, a move suggesting the marine mammal has rebounded from the brink of extinction, according to an internal memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The March 26 memo says Florida manatees are showing positive growth and adult survival rates, the Post reported Monday.

The agency plans to say that the manatee "no longer meets the definition of an endangered species," according to the memo, which was sent to the White House.

Threatened species are still protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Endangered means an animal is at a foreseeable risk of extinction. Threatened means a species could become endangered if protections are not maintained.

Chuck Underwood, a spokesman with the agency's Jacksonville office, told the Post the memo was drafted after a review of the manatee's progress, and government officials have not made a final decision on the issue yet.

"Until it gets final signatures on it, it could change," Underwood said. "It is an internal document. ... Is it the way we're going at the time? Yes. Is it also possible it could change? Yes."

An Associated Press call seeking more comment from the agency's Jacksonville office was not immediately returned.

This year's annual manatee census recorded 2,812 of the animals, also known as sea cows, in Florida water. Last year, scientists found 3,116.

In 1991 the survey's first year 1,267 manatees were counted in the state.

Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, said a classification switch could mean changes in boating and development restrictions that were established to protect manatees.

"This is not the time to be moving to say that they're going to be downlisting (the manatees) and then dilute the protection for them," Rose said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted last year to change the manatee's status from endangered to threatened.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:17 AM
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Next will be a hunting season to trim the population
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:58 AM
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I'll bet the STMC is screaming.

When Florida down graded the Manatee the STMC still had the federal classification to fight with. If the Feds downgrade them the STMC won't have much to do.
Maybe the Manatee Zones will diminish.
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