Manatees may lose endangered status, penguins may get it

Manatees and penguins and hornshell clams, oh my! Yes, it’s time for an endangered-species update. Flush with success from removing the bald eagle from the endangered-species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is suggesting that Florida manatees be downlisted from “endangered” to “threatened” status. It’s an idea that comes up fairly regularly and is decried by manatee advocates; if the USFWS follows through this time, critics can sound off in public review and comment periods. The USFWS also announced this week plans to review whether 10 species of penguin need endangered-species protection, factoring in the impacts of climate change, commercial fishing, and predators. Other species that are candidates for the list include the New England cottontail rabbit, sand dune lizard, Oregon spotted frog, and Texas hornshell clam. According to the USFWS, President Bush’s administration has added 60 species to the list; Bill Clinton added 550 critters, and Pa Bush added 256.