"The survey is flown during the cold weather, providing broad-scale information about manatee distribution among warm-water sites that the species requires to survive", McRae explained a year ago. The higher than 6,000 manatee numbers can be attributed to favorable weather conditions.
Florida wildlife officials say their annual manatee survey counted 6,620 of the sea cows - the most since the state began the census in 1991.
An annual count of the manatees gathered at warm water locations across Florida found more manatees than ever before this winter, for the third year in a row.
A new survey conducted in Florida revealed a massive number of manatees.
An aerial survey ending earlier this month had a preliminary total of 6,620 creatures, compared to 6,250 in 2016 and 6,063 the year before. The survey which was recently developed managed to count 3,488 manatees on Florida's east coast and 3,132 more on the state's west coast.
Florida's manatees shift inland during winter, and they were historically hunted for their meat and hide.
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But despite these concerns, manatees have been on the path to "threatened" status since 2007, when the Department of the Interior, which heads the US Fish and Wildlife Service, completed a 5-year status review of the species and recommended reclassifying them. Cindy Dohner, the Southeast regional director for US Fish and Wildlife, argued that the recovery of the manatee's population is encouraging, proving the significance of organizations' conservation process. "Today's proposal is not only about recognizing this progress, but it's also about recommitting ourselves to ensuring the manatee's long-term success and recovery".
The foundation has represented residents who formed the organization Save Crystal River. Then, in 2012, the Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the agency to downlist them. The agency's other argument for changing the listing: a computer model that shows they now stand little chance of going extinct.
A threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.
The state government and conservation groups worked to revive its population, including setting up no-wake zones to protect the mammals.
CNN reached out late Monday to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Save the Manatee Club for comment.