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PETITION TARGET: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Vulnerable manatees are starving to death and being harmed in boat collisions in Florida, with nearly 3,000 of the marine mammals dying in the past three years alone.

It’s time for the United States to do more to protect these precious creatures — including giving them increased protections through the Endangered Species Act by uplisting their status to “endangered.”

Manatees face numerous threats including algal blooms, toxic runoff from animal agriculture farms, and boat strikes — with at least 76 of the animals dying in 2022 alone after being hit, according to news reports.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which currently lists manatees as “vulnerable,” reports that nearly half of manatee deaths are caused by humans.

Starvation remains the leading cause of death for the animals due to the algal blooms, which occur when high amounts of nutrients from man-made chemicals accumulate in the water and prevent their main food source, seagrass, from growing.

In 2017 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decreased manatee protections. Now there are only about around 7,500 of the animals left in Florida’s waters, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

It’s crucial that sensitive and ecologically important manatees are granted the protections they need and deserve.

Sign our petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to uplist manatees to “Endangered” under the Endangered Species Act so these animals and their habitats can receive stronger protections. In the interim, we urge FWS to ensure that these vulnerable species and their ocean-based homes are protected.