ATLANTA - US ENVIRONMENTAL groups filed a suit on Wednesday against British-based oil giant BP Plc saying the world's worst offshore spill inflicted 'ongoing unlawful' harm on endangered wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.

The suit is one of thousands of damages cases to stem from the spill from BP's blown-out undersea Macondo well, which between April and July dumped millions of litres of oil into the sea, fouling coastlines in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The well was capped in mid-July.

But while the bulk of the cases have been brought by affected individuals, like fishermen, hoteliers and and companies, this one brought by conservation groups focuses on endangered sea turtles, whales, birds and Florida manatees.

The case was filed in federal court in Louisiana six months after the DeepWater Horizon rig explosion that triggered the spill. It says that these species were harmed by the leaked oil but also that oil in the ocean continues to do them harm.

'The harmful effects of the BP oil well blowout on endangered and threatened wildlife will continue for many years,' said Gregory Buppert, attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

'We ask the court to compel BP to provide the resources necessary to ensure (that) imperiled species in the Gulf recover from this disaster,' said Buppert, whose organization filed the suit along with the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), the Gulf Restoration Network and the Save the Manatee Club.

BP sued for harm to wildlife