Manatees

Save the Manatee

During the past dozen years, the endangered Florida manatee has made only tenuous progress toward recovery, principally due to lawsuits.

With only 3,807 animals, according to 2009 agency estimates, the manatee is still in danger of spiraling toward extinction:
  • The potential biological removal level (PBR) is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act as “the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population.” The PBR for manatees is approximately 12 per year. Yet, in 2008, a total of 337 manatees died, many directly at the hands of humans, primarily through boat collisions;

  • The State of Florida projects a 30% to 50% decline in manatee population over the next 60 years due to the triple threat of rising boat traffic, loss of habitat (particularly warm springs) and red tides and algal blooms poisoning the manatees and their food supplies; and

  • Much critical manatee habitat is unprotected from swarms of tourists in “swim-with” encounters, or from boaters and fishermen.

By every measure, the Florida manatee population is not recovering – it is teetering on the precipice. Yet both state and federal agencies are moving toward reducing protections for the manatee – including stripping the species of its endangered status.

PEER is leading an effort to strengthen safeguards for the manatee and we need your help.