MIAMI (AP) - Federal wildlife officials are moving forward with a status review of the manatee following a petition from a libertarian legal group representing some north Florida business owners.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it will begin a more detailed status review and analysis. It's a step in changing the status of the West Indian manatee - including its subspecies, the Florida manatee and Antillean manatee - from endangered to threatened.
In 2012, the Pacific Legal Foundation, on behalf of Save Crystal River Inc., submitted a petition requesting the reclassification.
Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, says his group welcomes the review, if for no other reason than to show that manatees are appropriately listed as an endangered species.
FWS is soliciting comment from the public and other interested parties.