TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist wants to postpone a decision to remove a “gentle giant,” the manatee, from the state’s endangered species list.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was scheduled to vote Wednesday on a new management plan that would change the manatee’s status to threatened, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
In a letter to Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto, Crist called the Florida manatee “one of our state's beloved natural resources.”
“You and your staff have worked diligently for several years to resolve the controversy over the imperiled status of this gentle giant," Crist said. "I am confident that by postponing this action you will help the new Commission better ensure the long-term survival and recovery of the Florida Manatee."
Manatees, marine mammals distantly related to elephants, spend most of their time in shallow coastal areas and rivers, making them vulnerable to collisions with boats.