Friday, June 9

Fish and Wildlife Service sued for failing to protect Florida manatee habitat

1,101 manatees died in Florida in the year 2021.

1,101 manatees died in Florida in the year 2021.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was sued in federal court for failing to act to stop the habitat destruction of Florida manateesOne of the plaintiffs, the Center for Biological Diversity, reported Tuesday.

This organization based in St. Petersburg, on the west coast of Florida, filed the lawsuit in the federal courts of the capital of the United States together with Save the Manatee Club y Defenders of Wildlife.

In December the three organizations had announced their intention to bring to justice the federal institutions in charge of fauna and nature before the serious situation facing Florida manatees by the destruction of seagrass beds that are their main source of food.

Pollution by nutrients and toxic waste is the main cause of destruction.

They ask to save the Florida manatees. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

According to a preliminary report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, 1,101 of these marine animals died in this state in 2021, a record number that almost doubles that of 2020 and raises alarms about the future of the species. .

“The carnage of 2021 should remove any doubt that Florida’s waters are in crisis,” Jaclyn Lopez of the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement announcing the lawsuit, which is intended to spur swift action “to protect manatee habitat from further destruction.”

Elizabeth Fleming, of Defenders of Wildlife, stressed that “immediate action” is necessary, because after many decades of progress in conservation in just one year, more than 10% of Florida’s manatee population was lost.

For his part, Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, criticized the “inability” of the FWS to protect the manatees’ habitat and also the fact that they have gone from being considered endangered animals to only “threatened.”

That change “left manatees in danger of suffering the deadly consequences of a mass starvation capable of leaving them dying, but preventable,” Rose said.

The expert believed that FWS should not take any longer to review and update critical manatee habitat, which was originally designated in 1976, and in his opinion is totally out of date.

The plaintiff organizations first requested such a review in 2008, and although the FWS then considered that the review was warranted, more than a decade later it has not undertaken the task.

“In the meantime, the factors warranting the review, specifically the need to protect and restore aquatic vegetation, have only increased in urgency,” the statement said.

Why do Florida manatees die?

Experts have denounced that the decrease in the seagrasses on which these animals feed due to pollution caused by the action of man is starving them.

In early January, the United States Government approved an initiative to feed Florida manatees with lettuce, cabbage and other vegetables to try to stop the death of these aquatic mammals due to starvation, something criticized by organizations such as Save the Manatee Club.

Manatees are fed with lettuce. (Photo: ULISES RUIZ / AFP) (Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP/ Getty Images)

Also read:
Nearly a thousand manatees have died in Florida in 2021
· They approve feeding Florida manatees with vegetables due to high mortality
· The person who wrote “Trump” on the back of a manatee could be fined up to $100,000

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