Manatees Downgraded From Endangered To Threatened
Good news, everyone -- manatees aren't endangered any more!
Everyone's favorite random sea creature has been downgraded from "endangered" to "threatened" by the US Interior Department, so maybe 2017 isn't so bad, after all.
The decision comes after 6,620 sea cows were found floating gracefully through Florida's waters -- a far cry from the 1970s, when only a few hundred were found.
And to make the announcement even more satisfying, it fittingly comes directly after Manatee Appreciation Day, which is apparently a thing that happens on March 29.
Hooray for manatees!
In a statement, Jim Kurth, acting director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, said,
While there is still more work to be done to fully recover manatee populations, particularly in the Caribbean, manatee numbers are increasing and we are actively working with partners to address threats. Today we both recognize the significant progress we have made in conserving manatee populations while reaffirming our commitment to continuing this species' recovery and success throughout its range.
However, in a harsh reminder that we can't have nice things, not everyone is celebrating.
Some people believe the declassification actually puts manatees at further risk of harm, which would obviously be really, really bad.
One of those people is Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan.
In a statement, he said,
The decision to weaken protections under the Endangered Species Act threatens the survival of the manatee, one of Florida's most beloved animals. It needs to be reversed.
Some believe the reclassification weakens protection for the animal.
"Endangered" means the species is in danger of going extinct, while "threatened" means they are likely to progress to endangered in the future.
Patrick Rose, executive director for Save the Manatee Club, said,
We believe this is a devastating blow to manatees. A federal reclassification at this time will seriously undermine the chances of securing the manatee's long-term survival.
The total manatee population has swelled to 13,000, according to the Interior Department.