Help Protect Florida's Lovable Manatees
49,786 signatures toward our 60,000 Goal
Sponsor: Free The Ocean
The Situation Could Get Deadlier for the Gentle Mammals If We Don't Act Now
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), manatees had their worst year on record in 2021. Just halfway through the year, at least 841 died — over double the highest death rate of any year in recorded history!
The FWC has declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for the manatees along Florida's Atlantic Coast. This means the event is unexpected and involves a significant die-off of a marine mammal population, and requires immediate response.
The driving factor of this increase in manatee fatalities is a lack of food (seagrass). Things are even worse for the species in winter, when there is not enough food in the warmer temperatures they favor. The gentle marine mammals require warm water, so they'll eventually choose to forgo feeding to stay in the warmer temperatures.
In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), downgraded the marine mammals' Endangered Species list status from endangered to threatened, which doesn't have the same level of protection. To help ensure the survival of manatees and their habitat, it's critical that the federal government restores the manatees' status as endangered. This will also provide more resources and funding for the people already working to save manatees on the ground.
Sign the petition to tell Martha Williams, the Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to put manatees back on the endangered species list!
- Derek Hawkins, The Washington Post (6 June 2021), "Florida manatees are dying at alarming RATES: 'We've never seen anything like this before'."
- Olivia Rosane, Treehugger (11 June 2021). "Florida's iconic MANATEES are in trouble."
Dear Martha Williams, Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Florida's iconic manatees are in serious trouble — so much so, that their rising death rate has been classified as an Unusual Mortality Event. This type of event is unprecedented, involves a significant die-off, and requires immediate response.
With a massive loss in seagrass coverage in this gentle marine mammal's environment, the driving force behind this mortality is lack of food. If we don't act soon, the situation could get much worse in the winter, when there is not enough food in the warmer temperatures they favor.
In 2017, the agency you direct, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded the manatee's status from endangered to threatened, which doesn't have the same level of protection... and the manatee's death rate began climbing. The manatee is an iconic species and restoring their endangered status will provide the resources and funding needed to protect them.
I'm asking you to help ensure the survival of manatees and their habitat by restoring their status as an endangered species.