The Florida manatee is rebounding, and the animals are obviously celebrating.
Thanks to years of sustained population growth spurred by conservation efforts from locals, environmentalists, and lawmakers, Florida manatees are no longer officially endangered.
Manatees are known for their vivid, dramatic, easy-to-read facial expressions. Just look at how obviously happy this one is:
Needless to say, their reaction to the news was characteristically expressive.
1. This manatee is so excited he can barely contain himself.
2. This one has joy written all over her face.
3. This is the third consecutive year that the Florida manatee’s population has increased, and the relief this manatee is feeling is palpable.
4. “The Fish and Wildlife Service has worked hand in hand with state and local governments, businesses, industry, and countless stakeholders over many years to protect and restore a mammal that is cherished by people around the world,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement, cheering this carrot-loving manatee up so much it’s impossible not to notice.
5. There are over 6,500 manatees alive today — like these two, which are obviously thrilled beyond belief.
6. That’s up from just a few hundred manatees 40 years ago, and this manatee is clearly over the moon at the progress.
7. This manatee is undeniably pumped that power companies in Florida have been working to preserve warm water outflows where manatees live when the weather gets cold.
8. This manatee is ecstatic that the Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife Service have teamed up to implement procedures reducing boat collisions.
9. And this manatee is plainly elated that local efforts to clean fishing gear out of streams and lagoons seem to be having an impact.
10. Unfortunately, it’s not purely good news. Taking manatees off the endangered species list means they’ll no longer be subject to the strictest legal protection, prompting this manatee to stop celebrating and reflect for a minute.
11. Some environmentalists worry that “downlisting” the creatures will destroy conservation efforts that are just starting to have an impact, reflected in the anxiety that this manatee is suddenly but unmistakably radiating.
12. As a result, the intense bliss that this manatee is experiencing at having being given a reprieve, environmentalists argue, may be short-lived.
13. The Miami Herald reports that even as more manatees are surviving, more are being hit by boats every year, a fact that causes manatees like this one to evince a deep, unshakable sorrow.
14. Without the pressure to maintain them, the same power plants that have created shelters for manatees might decide it’s not worth the expense or effort anymore — and the worry in this manatee’s face could not be more apparent.
15. Meanwhile, conservationists — and conspicuously uneasy manatees like this one — worry the Trump administration’s zeal for cutting environmental regulations could harm the species even further.
16. “A federal reclassification at this time will seriously undermine the chances of securing the manatee’s long- term survival,” Patrick Rose, executive director for Save the Manatee Club, said in a statement, visibly thrusting this manatee down a rabbit hole of depression and despair.
17. Thankfully, a wide cross-section of lawmakers, activists, and citizens are continuing to look out for the creatures even though they’re no longer technically endangered — the thought of which is obviously responsible for this manatee’s qualified optimism.
18. Institutions like the Center for Biological Diversity continue to track the species’ progress and sound the alarm about threats to its wellbeing, prompting this manatee’s unmistakable glee.
19. In the meantime, a bipartisan cross-section of U.S. Congress members from Florida is urging the Interior Department to reconsider taking the creatures off the endangered list, rendering these manatees rapturous with excitement.
20. As the fight to preserve the species goes on, there are things each of us can do to help manatees like this one maintain the sense of uncontainable jubilation they’re so clearly feeling right now.
21. You can donate to groups that advocate for these maximally emotionally forthcoming creatures.
22. And you can call your elected representatives and urge them to keep the regulations that protect manatees like this one — exulting in a state of pure revelry — in place.
23. As always, with every step forward, there remains more work to be done. With thousands of passionate supporters around the world, however, no controversial downlisting can wipe the delirious grin off this manatee’s face.