The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking comments from the public to help decide: Is the manatee endangered or threatened?
Currently, the manatee is listed as endangered.
The agency's consideration of the reclassification comes at the request of a handful of groups that say labeling the manatee as endangered is simply emotion-driven policy and not based on fact, The Associated Press reported.
Pacific Legal Foundation, one of the groups petitioning for the loosening of the label, said the current label hampers businesses that rely on waters where the manatees swim, and causes an unnecessary and sometimes costly regulatory climate.
The bulk of comments so far — and AP reported about 700 have weighed in — seem to suggest that the agency ought to keep the manatee as endangered.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that "endangered species are at the brink of extinction now. Threatened species are likely to be at the brink in the near future."
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