Target: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe
Goal: Ensure that endangered species protections for Florida manatees are maintained to promote population recovery
Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that the agency is contemplating a decision to weaken federal protections for Florida manatees. A year-long study will be conducted to determine whether current levels of protection under the Endangered Species Act are warranted. The endangered marine mammal lives in Florida’s coastal waters and river systems, and is under constant, increasing threat from human activity and climate change. Since receiving protected status under the Endangered Species Act in 1973, manatees have barely managed to maintain their population and if they lose any protections, their numbers will surely decline even further. Urge the FWS to maintain current levels of protection for manatees and help ensure that this majestic marine mammal remains a part of the Florida landscape.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the primary threats to Florida manatees are deaths from cold weather snaps, collisions with watercraft, red tides, and unexplained deaths in the Indian River Lagoon system. A survey conducted in January 2014 found 4,824 manatees living in Florida’s waters, which reflects a decrease from 4,834 in 2011 and 5,076 in 2010. Collisions with boats and other types of watercraft are the leading cause of death and injury among manatees, and each year nearly 100 manatees are killed by boaters. Climate change has fueled more severe hurricanes, red-tide algae events and fluctuations in sea temperature, all of which pose serious risks to manatees.
Human activity has threatened the long-term survival of manatees and it is up to us to put a stop to the slaughter. Urge the FWS to take responsibility and ensure the survival of these gentle marine mammals.
Dear Director Ashe,
I have recently learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering weakening Endangered Species Act protections for Florida manatees. Serious threats from human activity and climate change have resulted in consistent population decline despite their protected status, and removing protections will only serve to advance the death rate.
The agency’s mission is to help ensure the long-term success of wildlife, yet recent actions regarding the manatees reflect otherwise. In 2010 FWS refused to conduct an updated critical habitat designation review for the manatees and now the agency looks to chip away at current protections despite scientific data that shows the manatees face an increasing threat from humans and environmental changes.
I urge you to take the appropriate measures to ensure the long-term survival of these majestic, gentle fixtures of the Florida landscape.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey via Wikimedia Common