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Wildlife Officials to Review Manatee Status Change

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Update: Associated Press
July 1, 2014

MIAMI (AP) -- Federal wildlife officials are moving forward with a status review of the manatee following a petition from a libertarian legal group representing some north Florida business owners.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it will begin a more detailed status review and analysis. It's a step in changing the status of the West Indian manatee -- including its subspecies, the Florida manatee and Antillean manatee -- from endangered to threatened.

In 2012, the Pacific Legal Foundation, on behalf of Save Crystal River Inc., submitted a petition requesting the reclassification.

Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, says his group welcomes the review, if for no other reason than to show that manatees are appropriately listed as an endangered species.

FWS is soliciting comment from the public and other interested parties.


News Release: Associated Press
May 2, 2014

OCALA, Fla. (AP) -- A libertarian legal group representing some north Florida business owners has sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force manatees off the endangered species list.

The Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Ocala federal court on behalf of Citrus County business owners who say federal boat speed restrictions harm fishing and tourism on King's Bay, where manatees gather for the winter.

The lawsuit asks a judge to compel the agency to rule on a petition the group Save Crystal River filed in 2012. The petition sought to reclassify the manatee as threatened, per a 2007 federal review of manatee population numbers.

Wildlife service spokesman Chuck Underwood says funding constraints delayed the agency's review of the petition. Underwood says a decision on the manatees' status is expected soon.


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