WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
State News

Manatee Defenders Having A Cow Over Downlisting


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hearing from thousands of Floridians who don’t want the West Indian manatee down-listed from endangered to threatened.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and other Democratic members of the Florida congressional delegation are speaking out against the proposal. Opponents worry it’s too soon to ease protections.

Manatee population estimates have risen from 1,200 in the 1970s to more than 6,000 today. But Florida Wildlife Federation president Manley Fuller says a prolonged freeze or a toxic algae bloom could change that significantly.

“The manatee’s ultimate fate is going to relate to the habitat that it requires and we’re putting all kinds of pressure on those habitats.”

Fuller says the Wildlife Federation has not decided whether to sue if the manatee is down-listed, but he expects lawsuits either way.