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Florida manatee population shows signs of recovery, maybe

General March 18, 2015

File photo of a Florida manatee interacting with River Ventures' Captain Birns in the Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, FloridaBy Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – A record 6,063 manatees were sighted in Florida's coastal waters during February's annual headcount, demonstrating the success of conservation efforts for the slow-moving sea cow which once numbered in the hundreds, state wildlife experts said on Tuesday. Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, said the fact that virtually all manatees in Florida have scars from encounters with boats demonstrates the need for protection. One environmental group last week filed notice it plans to sue federal wildlife officials on charges of violating the Endangered Species Act, for failing to properly protect manatees. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility wants to ban so-called "swim-with" tours that attract swimmers to shallow warm-water lagoons to pet resting manatees.

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