$30 Million for Saving Manatees in Florida – Here’s Where the Money Will Go

In 1967 the Manatee was listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Since then biologists, scientists, ecologists, environmental protection agencies and Florida residents have banned together to help conserve and repopulate them. In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded the Manatee’s status to “Threatened” – which removed the species from the Endangered Species List.

Image Source: Erica Fischer/Aquapparel.com

By changing their status to “Threatened” they are still not in a good place from a population standpoint, but they are in a considerably better place than first reported in 1967. Brining them away from their “Endangered” status to their current “Vulnerable” status took a lot of work, money and truly passionate people to care for them.

In May of 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that $30,000,000 of the state of Florida’s budget will be allocated towards programs and networks that work together to help save manatees in need, in addition to pilot projects. First let’s take a look at the programs and networks.

MRPs or Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership is made up of public and private organizations such as: Miami Sequarium, Sea World Orlando, Jacksonville Zoo, Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. These facilities have programs that treat sick, injured or orphaned Florida manatees. Once rescued and rehabilitated, the manatees are then released back into the wild. Here is a video of Pop Tart the Manatee’s release with FWC and Miami Seaquarium:

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And then there are the pilot programs, these take care of restoring and conserving the natural habitat of the manatee. With the various seagrass restoration projects in addition to the Clean Waterways Act, the habitat of the manatee will be restored and protected.

While Governor DeSantis admits that we still have a lot of work to do, the $30,000,000 in funding will definitely help scale these efforts in a big way. Up until now, these efforts had been relying on donors and a portion of revenue generated from the individual facilities.

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