Manatees lose special protections

Several environmental and animal groups have criticized the decision of delisting of manatees from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s list of endangered species.

Federal wildlife authorities officially removed the aquatic creature, which is also called sea cows, from the list of endangered species, claiming that the species made a "dramatic turnaround" from the lows of 1970s.

Announcing the decision, federal authorities said they reclassified manatees as threatened species. However, conservationists argued that the species should not have been removed from the list of endangered species.

Save the Manatee Club’s Patrick Rose 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.”

Others decried the decision, calling it premature and arguing that it came without a solid long-term recovery plan for the species.

On the other hand, federal wildlife authorities are trying to justify their decision, claiming that spotters counted more than six thousand manatees off Florida’s coast. The figure represents a significant increase from the 1970s, when just a few hundred manatees were spotted.