The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is moving forward on a status review for the West Indian manatee following an evaluation of information submitted in support of a 2012 petition to reclassify the species, including its subspecies, the Florida manatee and Antillean manatee, from endangered to threatened.
On December 14, 2012, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), on behalf of Save Crystal River, Inc., submitted a petition requesting the reclassification and included as supporting information an analysis of the Service’s 2007 West Indian Manatee Five-Year Review which had recommended the status upgrade.
Today’s announcement, referred to as a 90-day substantial finding, marks the start of a more in depth status review and analysis required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to determine whether reclassification of the West Indian manatee is warranted. The Service also is electing to simultaneously conduct an updated five-year status review also required by the ESA.
To ensure that the status review is complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, the Service is opening a 60-day comment period and requesting information concerning the status of the West Indian manatee throughout its entire range.
Specifically, the Service seeks information on:
Information can be submitted by one of the following methods:
In order to allow sufficient time for biologists to review and consider submitted information and conduct the review, submissions must be received on or before September 2, 2014.
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