Today, PLF filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to have the West Indian Manatee and subspecies thereof, including the Florida Manatee, downlisted from endangered to threatened. Five years ago, the FWS concluded in its review of the species that the manatee was very unlikely to become endangered anytime in the next 100 years and that it should be downlisted. Yet the FWS has still done nothing, a pattern that has inspired other similar actions from PLF. Today’s petition simply asks the FWS to abide by its own recommendation for the West Indian Manatee.
Downlisting the manatee will likely not change the protections it currently enjoys. Threatened species have many of the same protections under the Endangered Species Act. Manatees also have other protections like those in the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. Such protections make it all the more absurd that the FWS has not acted on its own recommendations to downlist the animal.