Florida Lawmakers Want Manatees Listed As ‘Endangered’

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SARASOTA (CBSMiami/AP) — One of Florida’s favorite sea creatures may be about to receive some more protection.

Some Florida lawmakers want manatees back on the endangered species list.

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the large marine mammal was now considered “threatened” instead of “endangered” because its population had increased. The status upgrade didn’t change any federal for manatees.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, wrote Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last week, asking him to overturn that decision. According to a statement from the Sarasota Republican’s office, 10 other representatives from Florida from both parties also signed the letter.

The letter said the wildlife service’s decision was “potentially very harmful to the survival of the iconic Florida animal.” It also said state and local officials could consider weakening manatee protections such as slow-speed boating zones because of the wildlife service’s decision.

There’s an estimated population of 6,620 manatees in Florida.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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