Protection file

FWC provides update as Florida manatees need greater protection, lawsuit says

Florida manatees are dying at a record rate and need federal protection for their seaside habitat, environmental groups said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, asks a judge to set deadlines for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to finalize regulations to update the critical habitat designation for manatees. Previous Cover: Testing the Current Feeding Plan for Starving Florida Manatees More than 1,100 manatees died in Florida last year, double the five-year average of such deaths. The main problem is pollution from agricultural, urban and other sources, which triggers algal blooms, killing the seagrass on which the manatees depend during the winter months. The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Save The Manatee Club, co-founded by singer Jimmy Buffet. He argues that the Fish and Wildlife Service has dragged its heels on identifying critical habitat despite an attempt by groups to do so in 2008. “Meanwhile, Florida manatees and their habitat continue to face threats serious and imminent, including loss of water-refuges and poor water quality causing harmful algal blooms and profound loss of seagrass, a crucial food source, leading to mass starvation,” says the lawsuit. declined to comment on Tuesday but held a press conference by ZOOM on Wednesday. “These animals are compromised – this is an ongoing famine event…they have had suboptimal nutrition for more than a year. year now,” said FWC veterinarian Dr. Martine De Wit. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is feeding starving manatees romaine lettuce and butter lettuce amid a manatee mortality crisis. station he feeding pilot program in Titusville, on the edge of the Indian River Lagoon, is where the water is colder and malnourished sea cows cannot cope. more than 780 hungry manatees showed up on January 30 as temperatures plunged “We expect this to continue as the water is cold and the animals are out. It’s really concerning for us,” said Andy Garrett, rescue coordinator. “We want them to better identify what’s really important in the habitat, like abundance of seagrass, like water temperature, like water clarity and making sure pollution is mastered. said Jaclyn Lopez of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit. going to be solved and we expect to have to do it next winter. said Tom Reinert. The FWC said if you see a manatee in distress call the wildlife alert hotline at 888 404 3922

Florida manatees are dying at a record rate and need federal protection for their seaside habitat, environmental groups said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, asks a judge to set deadlines for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to finalize regulations to update the critical habitat designation for manatees.

Previous Cover: Testing the Feeding Plan in the Works for Starving Florida Manatees

More than 1,100 manatees died in Florida last year, double the five-year average of such deaths. The main problem is pollution from agricultural, urban and other sources, which triggers algal blooms, killing the seagrass on which the manatees depend during the winter months.

The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Save The Manatee Club, co-founded by singer Jimmy Buffet. He argues that the Fish and Wildlife Service has dragged its feet on identifying critical habitat despite an attempt by the groups to do so in 2008.

“Meanwhile, Florida manatees and their habitat continue to face serious and imminent threats, including the loss of warm water refuges and poor water quality that is causing harmful algal blooms and a profound loss of seagrass, a crucial food source, leading to mass starvation,” the lawsuit says.

WATCH: Sharks and manatees swim together to warm up off Florida beach

The Fish and Wildlife Service declined to comment on Tuesday but hosted a ZOOM press conference on Wednesday.

“These animals are compromised – it’s an ongoing starvation event…they’ve had suboptimal nutrition for over a year now,” said FWC veterinarian Dr Martine De Wit.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is feeding starving manatees romaine lettuce and butter lettuce amid a manatee mortality crisis. The pilot program’s feeding station in Titusville, on the edge of the Indian River Lagoon, is where the water is colder and malnourished sea cows cannot cope.

The agency held its first media update on the crisis, calling it definitely concerning – estimating that more than 780 hungry manatees showed up on January 30 as temperatures plunged

“We expect this to continue as the water is cold and the animals are out. It’s really concerning for us,” said rescue coordinator Andy Garrett.

“We want them to better identify what’s really important in the habitat, like abundance of seagrass, like water temperature, like water clarity and making sure pollution is brought under control,” said Jaclyn Lopez of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups filing the lawsuit.

The FWC said the problem was a lack of seagrass due to water pollution and admitted that this would not be a quick fix.

“The seagrass problem will not be resolved and we plan to do so next winter.” said Tom Reinert.

The FWC said if you see a manatee in distress, call the wildlife alert hotline at 888 404 3922