Great. The Jeb Bush-appointed Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously voted to downgrade the status of the manatee from "endangered" to "threatened."
As the people over at the Save The Manatee Club (visit their site here:link) said:
Seventeen conservation, animal welfare, and public interest groups from Florida and around the nation have filed a legal petition with the FWC, urging the state to revise its imperiled species classification system and also asking the agency to delay any species’ reclassifications, like the manatee’s, that recommended a lesser status of imperilment.
The action of the FWC may prevent the actual recovery of the manatee population and the conservation community fears that the same fate may await other at-risk species in Florida like the northern right whale, Florida panther, and Florida black bear.
Of course, this is nothing but a back-room deal to help Florida developers. Florida native, Miami Herald columnist and fantastic author Carl Hiaasen explains it a lot better than we could:
So far, the only ones rejoicing over the panel's decision are waterfront developers, marina builders and representatives of the marine industry, who or five years have been waging an expensive political campaign to get the manatee ``downlisted.''
They were miffed by strict rules imposed in some places while manatees were on the state's endangered list. Speed zones were established that inconvenienced fishermen and weekend boaters, while restrictions were imposed on permits for new docks and marinas in certain areas.
As adorable as they might be, the sea cows had become a nuisance. They were getting in the way of big plans by people with big bucks.
The more slips that you can cram into a marina, the fatter your profit margins. And the larger the marina is, the more boats will be sold to fill it.
Everybody makes out dandy except for the near-sighted manatees, which tend to gather and breed in the same quiet waters along which developers like to build their projects.
So, heavyweight lobbyists such as Wade Hopping were hired to promote the notion that manatees are doing just great. Last week the seven FWCC commissioners, all appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, agreed.
Read the whole article here:link. We'll admit it: we're new here to the Sunshine State. But downlisting this poor creature, whose numbers remain around 3,000 or so, seems simply irresponsible. Unless you're a developer.
So help out our new friends at the Save the Manatee Club. And help out the manatees. ts
photo courtesy of the
Save the Manatee Club