Friday, December 2, 2016

Manatees arrive, facing spike in boat deaths, loss of endangered status - Sun Sentinel

Manatees arrive, facing spike in boat deaths, loss of endangered status - Sun Sentinel As manatees stream into South Florida for the winter, they're entering what could be a momentous season for their species. The number killed by boats is approaching a record, with 95 so far this year, just two short of the record 97 killed in 2009. And possibly more significant, the federal government expects to announce a decision in early 2017 on whether to strip manatees of their endangered status. The government pitches the change as good news, reflecting the manatee's growing numbers and improved prospects. But some scientists say the proposal to change their status ignores likely habitat loss and recent mass die-offs.


The high death count comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works on its assessment of whether the manatee should be reclassified from endangered to threatened. The wildlife service already has announced a preliminary decision in favor of the reclassification, acting in response to a petition from the free-market Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF is a project of the Koch Brothers). It was filed on behalf of landowners on the Gulf coast who oppose further restrictions on boating and waterfront construction.

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