HomeTop StoriesLocal environmentalists are campaigning for manatees to be placed on the endangered...

Local environmentalists are campaigning for manatees to be placed on the endangered species list

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Tampa Bay Now) – A local organization is petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to change the status of manatees to endangered.

Manatees were removed from the endangered list in 2017 and have since suffered some massive loss of life.

“It’s incredibly heartbreaking to watch this iconic species just fade away, die from the lack of seagrass feed and food,” said Eagan Whitlock of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Whitlock is talking about manatees.

“Over the past two years we’ve had an unusual mortality event. We’ve lost nearly 2,000 manatees in 2021 and 2022 combined,” said Whitlock.

Dr. Dave Tomasko of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program says a major reason for manatee deaths is unpredictable environmental events.

“Our problems are related to people making the red tide worse. Think of Tampa Bay in 2021 when you had Piney Point and you had the worst red tide in 50 years in the middle and upper part of Tampa Bay,” said Dr. Tomasko.

See also  The water of the world in focus as clean supplies were squeezed

Dr. Tomasko says the Piney Point incident, in which millions of gallons of polluted water leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, pollution, heavy rains and the use of fertilizers have led to the seagrass beginning to disappear.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve lost 150 square miles of eelgrass in the state of Florida,” said Dr. Tomasko.

Now, the Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to upgrade manatees to an endangered species, and the organization expects to hear back this week.

“It would open up new funding opportunities to protect water quality and seagrass. It would allow more full-time employees at the agencies to commit to manatee recovery on a daily basis,” said Whitlock.

Dr. Tomasko says something needs to change soon.

“The manatees are telling us something is up. Something is wrong with your water and it’s happening all over the state,” said Dr. Tomasko.

See also  Trump says he expects to be arrested Tuesday on prosecutor's charges

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments