Manatees by far are considered an endangered species, but there could be and argument and a fight to take them off the list from the winter survey done in December and January. The numbers released from this past Thursday shows that the Manatee count has risen from 2016 and 2015. For 2017, the population of manatees is not sitting at 6,620. It is higher than 6,250 and even higher from 6,063.

Manatee protection

Manatees are protected because they are most often hit by boaters out on the water or have swallowed trash on the water like little baby Emoji, who died this year.

During the winter months, many of these creatures often move into warmer water which could include spring waters and hot springs. The TECO power plant in Apollo beach often has warm waters around it because of the energy and hot water used to power the natural gas turbines. Many residents of Apollo beach often see these creatures on the viewing docks of the manatee observatory across from the power plant.

Florida Fish and Wildlife are considered moving the manatee from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act due to lower boat speeds in and out of manatee heavy areas or restricting the boats to a more minimal encounter with these creatures. It has shown a great help in reducing the rapid decline of manatees compared to when they were first listed as endangered in 1972 with only 1,267 of the species present at the time.

Manatee under threat

Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Larry Ahern are two Florida lawmakers who have considered looking into the effectiveness of boat speed zones. Meanwhile Brevard County commissioner Curtis Smith wants to repeal boat speed zones in Brevard County. Smith says the speed zones created in the 1990s for these manatees was out of love and not science.

So far the manatee is listed under the Manatee Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act where it may not be near extinction now, but it could be in the future. There are greeters and haters of the change to the manatee status and the new change is differed between residents and locals from all around Florida. Yet while the manatee is still threatened, there will be regulations to habitat and boating speeds to ensure future populations of these animals to come.