Save the Manatee Club

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ignores Ongoing Threats and Proposes to Downlist Entire West Indian Manatee Species
A living manatee bears scars from a watercraft collision. Photo copyright David Schrichte.

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed to reclassify the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Save the Manatee Club does not believe it is appropriate to reclassify manatees at this time. It is completely unclear why FWS feels justified in downlisting the entire species since the agency's own 12-month finding cites that "population trends are declining or unknown in 84 percent of the countries where manatees are found." The FWS should not move forward with downlisting Florida manatees without a proven, viable plan for further reducing mortality and preserving vital warm water habitat and establishing recovery benchmarks in an updated Recovery Plan.

The FWS decision for Florida is largely based on a computer model that does not include two recent, massive die-offs of hundreds of manatees. The manatee population suffered catastrophic losses from prolonged cold snaps and toxic red tide blooms from 2010 through 2013. The computer model also does not deal with loss of habitat due to waterfront development. In addition, there is no long-term plan for the anticipated loss of artificial winter warm water habitat on which more than 60% of the Florida manatee population depends.

Please read more about why Save the Manatee Club is opposed to reclassification at this time.

What You Can Do:
  1. There is a 90-day public comment period that ends April 7th, 2016. There are two ways to comment to FWS on this proposal, and you can click the following link to get sample comments.

    Electronically: Click the following link to go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal and enter your comments.

    U.S. Mail or Hand-Delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2015-0178, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803

    Click the following link to get more information from the FWS, including FAQs and details on the types of information to include in public comments.

  2. Please donate to help us fight to keep manatee protections strong.
Thank you so much for your help on this issue that is vital to manatee protection!