Alarming manatee death toll in Florida prompts calls for endangered status

Mammals were downgraded from endangered to threatened in 2017, even as pollution and habitat loss drive starvation

The deaths of almost 2,000 manatees in Florida’s coastal and inland waterways over the last two years has provoked an alliance of environmental groups to demand an urgent reclassification of the species to officially endangered.

The advocates, led by the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity, insist the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) made a critical error in 2017 by prematurely downgrading the status of the giant aquatic mammals from endangered to merely threatened.

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