Letters to the Editor

Keep manatees on endangered-species list

Thank you for Sunday's editorial, Bad year for manatees, dolphins, on the latest death statistics.

I did my 2003 thesis on manatees including boater issues, boater observations in a manatee zone and a phone survey of these voters.

In terms of boater opinion, some important data gleamed included that more than 54% of those surveyed thought that speed zones should be made less confusing by having fewer types of zones, even if the number of slower zones increased.

About 70% of those surveyed thought that manatee protection zones were just about right or should be made stricter. More than 49% said that manatees should continue to be listed as endangered (26% did not have enough information to decide).

The editorial brings home the point that with unpredictable toxins and the current death rate – almost 20% of the entire manatee population in 2013 – it is clear that these animals are just clinging to existence and must be kept on the endangered species list.

Another interesting statistics from my survey is that more than 88% surveyed thought strongly or mostly agreed that manatees have a right to exist and that people should not be allowed to cause their extinction.

Scientists, boaters and the public must all do what we can to protect these gentle giants and other animals from falling victim to Red Tide and other yet unknown poisons.

Judith Futerfas, South Miami

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