The method for determining if a species is “endangered” or “threatened” is changing in Florida. The state’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has updated its imperiled species listing process. The Commission will use new criteria—developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature…a worldwide group that advocates for conservation & sustainability.
The decision doesn’t immediately affect the status of any of the 118 animals currently classified as endangered, threatened, or of special concern in Florida. Endangered Species Coordinator – Dan Sullivan – says his agency is using the new criteria because, he says, they provide a quantitative way to gauge imperiled species… WITHOUT involving politics and emotion…
“The IUCN process was one of the most…if not the most…well-respected processes for identifying species at risk of imperilment…it was decided that would be a good starting point…a good foundation from which to start our process. It creates a measuring stick that you can compare from one thing to another.”
Representatives of the Save the Manatee Club say the rule change opens the door for a downlisting of the currently “endangered” Florida Manatee. Patrick Rose is spokesman for the Club. He says since the new criteria focus on whether a species population is growing or shrinking…even the Florida Panther, of which there are only 80 living in the wild, could be downlisted…
“Once they stop these precipitous declines, and they just hold stable for a period, even though they may still be in literally critical condition, they can be taken off the list.”
But Commission spokesman – Dan Sullivan – says the new process allows for a biological review panel that can override classification changes if there’s clear biological justification.
Tuesday, 19 April 2005 01:00