Good news comes today for conservationists in Florida. An aerial survey showed a record breaking number of manatees. Over 6,000 of them were seen swimming for the third year in a row. The manatee made the endangered species list back in 1991 when their numbers dwindled down to an estimated 1,267. This year's count totaled 6,620 sea cows which shows a steady increase over the years. In 2016 there were approximately 6,250 and only 6,063 back in 2015. With the rise in the manatee population, the debate of whether or not to remove them from the endangered species list ensues.

Endangered Species

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now considering changing the status of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. This is not only due to the increase in population, but also to the improvements made to the manatee's habitat conditions. The recovery of this once critically endangered species is phenomenal. It has given conservationists and scientists hope for the future of other endangered species. Some still wish to leave the manatee's status as is, as they are still threatened by accidental deaths and vulnerability to weather and red tide, a harmful algae bloom. According to the Save the Manatee Club, approximately 98 were killed in watercraft accidents last year alone.

As of now, the manatee is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Trump's target

The Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon. The main goal of the act was to save the American Bald Eagle from extinction. It has since saved 99% of all of the species on the list. It is estimated that 227 species would have been extinct by 2006 without the Endangered Species Act.

However, Republicans seem to have the Act in their sights. Since 2011, Republicans have made 233 legislative attempts to shut down the Act. The now Republican majority House has voted to remove the limits on drilling, mining, and land development. Even though 90% of Americans support the Endangered Species Act, Congress does not seem to be listening.

To stand up for conservation and climate change, a global protest is set for April 29th. It's called the People's Climate March and aims to bring conservation and science back to the forefront.

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