Target: US Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director, Jim Kurth
Goal: Keep manatees under the protection of the government and on the endangered species list.
Back in 1991, it was estimated that there were only 1,300 manatees left off the coast of Florida. The number has since swelled to 6,300 around Florida and more than 13,000 worldwide, so it comes as no surprise that the government wants to remove the manatee, as well as the sea turtle, off the endangered species list. However, despite these swelling numbers, environmental groups warn that climate change could cause the numbers to decrease dramatically. They say that there are still too many factors that could kill the manatee.
Manatees are charismatic and loving creatures and are known for their curiosity. Because of this, more than 80 manatees get too close to boat propellers and are killed. They are also faced with habitat loss as ocean pollution becomes more common and their greatest long-term threat is a loss of warm water. In the past 10 years, manatees have had a higher-than-usual number of deaths due to cold stress. The winter of 2010 saw the death of almost 800 manatees, nearly 300 of them from the cold water.
Two-thirds of the population rely on the warm water outfalls of electric power plants, which in itself is a very dangerous act. Many experts say that manatees need natural warm springs in order to survive the next decade. Very few springs are currently protected by the government and will lose that protection if the manatee is removed from the endangered species list. Please sign the petition below to urge the U.S. government to keep manatees on the endangered species list.
Dear Deputy Director Kurth,
It is widely understood that manatees are making a comeback. They’ve more than tripled their size since 1991, and many of the dangers they faced back in the day have been done away with. However, they’re still faced with a large issue that mankind has yet to do away with completely: climate change. The ever changing climate issues spark some doubt when it comes to the long-term survival of the manatee.
The manatees’ biggest enemy at the moment is the lack of natural occurring warm water springs during the winter. A temperature below 68 degrees Fahrenheit could become dangerous for manatees. They could suffer something called cold stress, which is a disease that can cause sores, digestive problems, loss of appetite, and extreme weight loss. These poor creatures will wash up on the beach shore on the brink of death and not many of those saved will survive.
Manatees will flock to the warm water outflow of electric power plants, and this too could cause them harm. Many experts say that without natural warm springs, which are currently protected by the government as long as manatees are endangered, manatees will once again dip into the endangered category. Please keep these beautiful creatures under the protection of the government. It’s hard to imagine the Florida coast without them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Carol Grant