The Florida Manatee
Greetings! Here is part 3 of my Cool and Interesting Facts about Florida Manatees! Did you know that both state and federal laws protect us manatees? That’s right! We are a rare marine mammal that needs special protection. In fact, we’re currently listed as endangered. Webster’s Dictionary defines endangered as, “a type of animal or plant that has become very rare and that could die out completely.”
As a result, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 protects manatees. This is the federal wildlife law that covers the protection of manatees, along with other endangered and threatened species. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was signed into law on December 28, 1973. The ESA actually replaced the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969.
There are approximately 2,215 species around the world that are listed as endangered or threatened. Of this set, about 615 species are found outside the United States.
What is the Difference Between Endangered and Threatened?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) …
A species is considered:
Endangered – if it is in danger of extinction throughout or a significant portion of its range.
Threatened – if it is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.
The other federal law protecting us manatees is the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA). It was signed into law on October 21, 1972. The MMPA prohibits the “take,” defined as not “to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.” (16 U.S.C. 1362) Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 based on the following…
- Some marine mammal species may be in danger of extinction or depletion due to human activities.
- These species must not be permitted to fall below their optimum sustainable population level.
- There is not enough knowledge of the ecology and population.
- Marine mammals have proven to be resources of great international significance.
Finally, the state law protecting us manatees is the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. This law states, “It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee.”
Anyone convicted of violating Florida’s state law faces the possibility of a maximum fine of $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 60 days. Conviction on the federal level is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and/or one year in prison.”
Stay tuned for more manatee facts coming up in a future blog!
If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee