Are Manatees No Longer Endangered?

MIAMI (AP) — Federal wildlife officials will be announcing their decision on a petition to reclassify Florida’s iconic manatees as “threatened” instead of “endangered.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has scheduled a news conference Thursday afternoon in Miami to discuss its review of the manatee’s status.

A Florida business group and the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the government in 2012 to reclassify the manatee, citing a 2007 federal review that recommended listing the species as threatened since the population is recovering.

Florida’s manatee population has grown from several hundred in 1967 to over 6,000 counted last year in an annual statewide survey.

A listing as a “threatened” species would allow some flexibility for federal officials but maintain most of the protections afforded to animals listed as endangered.