Florida Manatee Recovery Plan
Despite the fact that the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan provides a four-step process for improving the growth and expansion of the manatee population, the steps outlined by the Plan seem somewhat incongruous to what should have taken place in the past. For instance, the Plan calls for the government to identify, evaluate and monitor manatee habitats. Considering that the manatee has been listed as an endangered specie since 1967, it seems feasible to argue that this steps should have already been taken. If government officials have failed to identify manatee habitats for the last 36 years, one cannot help but wonder what methods constituted conservation and preservation efforts in the past. In short, has the government taken any significant steps to ensure the viability of the manatee other than simply listing it as an endangered animal?
In addition to the fact that current legislation clearly reveals gaps in past attempts to protect the manatee, the current Plan for protection also seems fraught with problems. For instance, while the administrators of the Plan clearly delineate what steps need to be taken in order to provide salient data regarding the manatee, the Plan, overall, fails to legitimate how these objective will be accomplished. Even when assessing the treat that watercraft pose to the manatee, the report only notes the following: “Sufficient work is need to monitor, review, assess needs to update existing protection zones, develop new zones warranted in other areas and make vessel operations aware of these zones”. Despite this, however, the Plan provides no solid coherent methods fro achieving these goals.
The West Indian manatee has been listed as an endangered animals form 36 years now. In spite of this classification, the government has failed to successfully delineate the habitats of these animals and further protect them from the one threat that is most pervasive: watercraft. Putting all of this information into context, it seems fair to argue that preservation and conservation efforts for the West Indian manatee have failed miserably. The question now is whether or not any formidable methods can be undertaken to improve the situation.
Looking at Florida’s Manatee Recovery Plan, it seems that the answer to this question is no. While administrators of the Plan have taken a considerable amount of time to draft and revise conservation efforts in Florida, the reality of these efforts is that they have little if any salient application to helping the manatee. Given the large requisition of funding that has been proposed for this project ($10 million) it seems feasible to question the motives of those that are administering the Plan. Are conservation efforts actually the primary focus of those in charge or are the manatees in even more peril than originally thought? Unfortunately, only time will tell.