The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that Florida’s green sea turtles and manatees are no longer endangered. Federal officials have recognized it as a conservation success as their low numbers started to increase.
The manatee population in Florida dropped to 1,267 in 1991, and was offered protection under the Endangered Species Act. Since then, the population has increased to 6,300 — a 500 percent increase. On January 7, the government agency proposed a downgrade for their status. The Brevard County commissioners have already approved a resolution for increasing the speed of boats, in areas close to the manatees.
“We’re asking for a study to be done so that we can determine if the manatee zones actually work or if they don’t work,” said County Commission Vice Chair Curt Smith.
In a similar case, about 198 green turtle nests were discovered by scientists in 2001. Scientists have now discovered more than 14,152 nests, and federal officials have decided that the turtles should be considered threatened, but not endangered. However,this applies only to the green turtles in Mexico’s Pacific coast and in Florida. Though many people believe that their shells or their skin is green, it can actually vary from olive to black. These turtles live in the subtropical and tropical areas of the world, and the turtles and the eggs are used for food.
However, manatees would still receive protection from the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. Llewellyn Ehrhart, a professor at Central Florida University said that the decision could lead to extinction of these species. They will need to be protected and considered endangered again as people are going to exploit them, and their population are going to decrease, he added.