Lawsuit Launched Over Federal Failure to Protect Manatees

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity, Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic, Miami Waterkeeper, and Frank S. González García sent a notice today of their intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect the West Indian manatee under the Endangered Species Act.

Today’s legal notice follows conservationists’ November petition urging the Service to reclassify the species from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Service was required by law to determine within 90 days whether the petition presents substantial information indicating uplisting the manatee may be warranted. It has now been more than 150 days with no finding.

“I’m appalled that the Fish and Wildlife Service hasn’t responded to our urgent request for increased protections for these desperately imperiled animals,” said Ragan Whitlock, a Florida-based attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s painfully clear that manatees need full protection under the Endangered Species Act, and they need it now. While we’re submitting this notice, I’m hopeful the Service will act quickly to restore full protections.”

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Media Contacts:

Endangered Species, Carnivore Conservation: Aaron Kunkler, Media Specialist –, (206) 949-5353
Energy Justice: Patrick Sullivan, Media Director,, (510) 844-7116
Climate: Nyshie Perkinson, Media Specialist –, (718) 928-5148
Public Lands, national monuments and borderlands:
Mary K. Reinhart, Deputy Director of the Media Program –, (602) 320-7309
Oceans and International Wildlife: Natalie Jones, Media Specialist –, (510) 418-0179
Pesticides, toxics, air pollution, industrial agriculture and Environmental Health: Andy Parker, Media Specialist –, (503) 310-5569
Population and Sustainability: Kim Dinan, Media Specialist –, (513) 535-1306
Urban Wildlands, Government Affairs: Wendy Leung, Senior Media Specialist –, (818) 625-3128

Media photos: Patrick Sullivan, Media Director,, (510) 844-7116

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; photo of jaguar by Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity