Experts are saying that Florida manatees are dying at alarming rates--and now it is time to act.
"Earthjustice is working to protect manatees from unprecedented mass starvation," Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest environmental law organization, posted on April 3.
"Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s watch, manatees in Florida are dying at high rates as pollution kills off seagrass, their main food source. In 2021, over a thousand of Florida’s manatees died, and more than half of those deaths were due to lack of food."
The organization's website furthered that the conservation groups, Center for Biological Diversity, Save the Manatee Club, and Defenders of Wildlife, represented by Earthjustice, are now suing the EPA for failing to step in.
"Earthjustice is using the power of the law to compel the government to fix the pollution at the heart of the problem. This legal case is part of our larger work fighting the drivers of the biodiversity crisis."
Earthjustice uploaded a video to YouTube featuring expert opinions on the matter.
"It's a little over 20% of the East Coast population that's been decimated in two years," said Save the Manatee Club's Senior Conservation Associate, Kimberleigh Dinkins, in the video posted by Earthjustice.
While Florida's West Indian manatee conservation status isn't listed as endangered currently, it is listed as "vulnerable" or "threatened" with the population decreasing. In 2018 the Florida manatee population was revised and estimated at 8,810.
A chart on the Marine Mammal Commission site shows the upward trend in annual manatee mortalities over the past few decades, spanning from around 200 mortalities reported in 1990 to over 1,000 in 2021.
"Where typically we would have meadows and meadows of emerald green seagrasses, because the seagrasses are disappearing the animals that rely on them [...] we're losing them," Dr. Leesa Souto, Director of Operations at Applied Ecology, Inc, noted in the video.
To learn more or to view the entire video, you can visit Earthjustice's official website here.