Manatees May Lose Endangered Species Protections
Planned Reclassification Comes as Mammals' Death Rates Record High
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 8, 2007; 5:14 PM
MIAMI, April 8 -- The Florida manatee, this state's imperiled environmental icon, last year suffered its most dismal year on record.
Of a population of about 3,200, at least 416 died in 2006, the highest number of deaths recorded in 30 years of statistics. Many of the manatee deaths resulted from collisions with boat propellers.
Now, according to an internal memo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been drafting plans under which the celebrated marine mammals would lose their protection as an endangered species.
The planned reclassification of the slow-moving sea cows from "endangered" to "threatened" is expected to elicit a barrage of criticism from environmental groups who see it as a part of the Bush administration's push to poke holes the Endangered Species Act. (snip)
The new status would make it easier to loosen boating speed limits and restrictions on waterfront development that have been instituted to make Florida safe for the species, environmental leaders said.(ed.note- nut graph)
"We've entered the witching hour of the Bush administration where there are going to be frantic lame-duck attempts to do under the table what they cannot pass through Congress," said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an environmental group that obtained the memo.
A POPULATION OF 3,200? That's not a population, that's a FREAKING ALMOST EXTINCTION!!
Mantees are wonderful sweet animals that have been tortured by boats and boaters for ages, and Bushs' Fish & Wildlife thinks they DON'T need any special protection?
Thank god for PEER, the people that brought you "Don't Mention Age Of The Grand Canyon, It May Piss Off The Fundies"