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Sadly, manatees face another winter of limited food supplies in Florida waters after their deaths have already reached a record level this year.The original record was set in 2013 when 830 manatees died due to a toxic algae bloom. But this year, in just six months, their deaths have surpassed that count. Between January 1 and July 2, 841 have sadly died along the coast of Florida, and more than 1,000 have died this year in total, which is 15 percent of the state’s manatee population.
Photo: Pixabay/PublicDomainImages
In order to prevent more deaths, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Power & Light Company are all working together to reduce manatee deaths and approved a new step of feeding them.
They will now use FPL’s Cape Canaveral Clean Energy Center in Brevard County while they conduct manatee rescues, recover carcasses, do health assessments, and try a short-term feeding trial.
Photo: Pixabay/PublicDomainImages
The manatees have been struggling to find food to eat because of the decline in seagrass beds that are prime winter foraging areas, which has left the majority of them severely malnourished. It’s estimated that 58 percent of the seagrasses has been lost in the northern Indian River Lagoon, which is mostly due to human-caused pollution.
Although feeding wildlife is discouraged, this feeding program is a must if we want to reduce manatee deaths.
Photo: Pixabay/hhach
“It is critical we help manatees in the short term with actions that are compatible with their long-term well-being and resilience,” Shannon Estenoz, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, said in a statement.
Their plan for the feeding program is to drop food for the starving manatees as they gather in these warm-water wintering spots. The food will include lettuce, cabbage and other greens, that will be delivered to the manatees in a controlled manner.
Photo: Pixabay/extrabrandt
You, too, can help save manatees’ lives. Our partners, The Center for Biological Diversity, are working tirelessly to force the state of Florida to protect these magical animals. Please support their work.
Sadly, the situation could get deadlier for these mammals if we don’t act now. Sign the petition to tell Martha Williams, the Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to put manatees back on the endangered species list!
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