Survey reveals record number of manatees spotted in Florida waters

Annual Florida manatee count breaks record for third year in a row

According to CNN, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released findings indicating that over 6,000 manatees were spotted in Florida for the third consecutive year.

The development comes 12 months after federal wildlife officials mulled the removal of the animal from the endangered species list.

Florida residents have counted a massive number of manatees swimming in Florida waters this year.

"A downlisting reduces the protections offered to a species", Clare Aslan, a community ecologist and conservation biologist at Northern Arizona University, tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email.

A threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.

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The proposal was published in the Federal Register Jan. 8 a year ago, with officials convinced that it represents conservation progress as well as recommits the agency to ensure long-term positive status for the manatees.

Is the manatee ready for that kind of flexibility?

The future is looking up for Florida's manatee population. Most Florida manatees bear propeller scars on their backs, say experts.

This is promising news considering previous year Florida boaters were responsible for almost 100 manatee deaths, which was a new record for the Sunshine State. In cold weather, manatees tend to huddle near sources of heat like warm springs.

Attempting to spot manatees for the count can be hard, since they only surface every five minutes or so to breathe. You can also purchase a subscription and have full access to the site. "The management community has no control over how Florida makes its power or if there's a cheaper alternative or if the plants shut down".

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The annual count comes as the US Fish and Wildlife Service mulls a final decision on the removal of the West Indian manatee from the endangered species list and a reclassification as a threatened species. More information about manatees can also be found on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's website.

"The manatee's recovery is incredibly encouraging and a great testament to the conservation actions of many", Cindy Dohner, the Southeast regional director for US Fish and Wildlife, said at the time.

The Pacific Legal Foundation's petition kicked off another federal examination, which in January 2016 again recommended downlisting the mammals.

A public comment period ended in April 2016.

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