Groups to sue federal officials over manatee protection

MIAMI (AP) — Several conservation groups have announced that they’re planning to sue federal wildlife officials, citing a failure to protect the West Indian manatee following record death rates in recent years. The Center for Biological Diversity and others filed a notice Tuesday of their intention to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The legal notice follows a November petition urging FWS to reclassify the species from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Since having their legal protections reduced in 2017, conservationists say manatee numbers have declined dramatically. The groups say algae blooms fueled by wastewater treatment discharges, leaking septic systems, fertilizer runoff have contributed to the deaths of nearly 2,000 manatees in the past two years.