SARASOTA, Fla. — Congressman Vern Buchanan is working with MOTE Marine scientists to introduce the Manatee Protection Act, which would upgrade manatees from a threatened species to an endangered species.
This, after nearly 1,000 manatees have died in Florida so far this year, shattering the record of 830 in 2013.
Scientists believe the decline of seagrass beds, boat strikes, and red tide are to blame.
- 'It's catastrophic': Why more than 700 dead manatees are just the tip of the iceberg
- More than 400 Florida manatees killed so far in 2021, wildlife experts concerned
"When you lose 15 percent of your population, 1,000 deaths, double what was last year, we’ve got to come up with a plan and not just hope it goes away," said Buchanan.
Buchanan says moving the manatees back to the endangered species list would bring more awareness to the animal and make more federal funding available to help save them.
He's hoping to work with Congress members to swiftly move the bill through.
"We don’t want to do something five years from now, if we lose 1000 a year, they’re going to be gone. We need it done quickly," said Buchanan.