Target: Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson
Goal: Protect the endangered manatee from the increasing threat of death by being hit by boats.
Manatee deaths in Florida via boat collision are on pace to break the number of deaths in a single year. Seventy-one of these endangered animals have already been killed this year–a number that’s being attributed to falling fuel prices and a recovering economy. The government of Florida needs to take action before the manatee population falls to a point where recovery is impossible.
A state boater advocacy group is trying to say that the record number of deaths is due to the fact that the manatee population has recovered so much that there isn’t enough sea grass to eat in their usual habitat, so they’re forced to go further out in order to feed. However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found no evidence that these animals are having trouble finding food. Plus, due to the fact that manatees only give birth to one calf every three to five years, a sudden population increase is extremely unlikely.
Manatees continue to need protection from human interference. These vulnerable creatures continue to be killed every year by careless boaters despite education and advocacy efforts. If these deaths are increasing, it’s up to the government of Florida to increase protections. Sign our petition to demand that restrictions on boating traffic be stepped up to shield manatees from unnecessary death.
Dear Secretary Steverson,
Seventy-one manatees have already been killed this year due to being hit by boats driven by humans. At this rate, Florida could see a new record in terms of unnecessary manatee deaths from boat collisions. This is thought to be due to increased boat traffic resulting from falling fuel prices and a recovering economy.
It’s great that Florida’s economy is recovering, but that means you need to step up efforts to protect endangered animals that are impacted by increased human activity. As you know, manatees are incredibly fragile animals that reproduce at slow rates. This is just one of the reasons that the claim that the increase in manatee deaths are due to a population spike is preposterous.
Maintaining the natural ecosystem of Florida’s marine environment is much more important than humans’ ability to boat wherever they want. Increased restrictions on boat traffic would go a long way toward protecting the manatee from extinction. Please do what’s necessary before this gentle species is lost forever.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Reid, Jim P, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service