Did Manatee Feeding Program Work
Did Manatee feeding program work? Manatees in Florida are facing a long-term threat of pollution to their main food source, seagrass. In 2021, over 2,000 manatees died mostly due to starvation. To combat this, an experimental feeding program was launched in 2021, providing just under 400,000 pounds of lettuce to hundreds of manatees at a warm water power plant site along the east coast where they typically gather for the winter. This year, the feeding program has ended as the pace of manatee deaths seems to have slowed down.
The slowdown in manatee deaths is attributed to various factors, including the partial recovery of seagrass in key winter areas and more animals appearing to be in better physical condition than in the past. Efforts are also being made to rehabilitate malnourished manatees that are recovered alive. As of Wednesday, there were 84 manatees at rehab sites around the country, including 72 in Florida.
The total cost of this season’s feeding program was about $250,000, most of which was covered by donations from people around the country to a nonprofit affiliated with the FWC.
Why does everybody love Manatees? Manatees are gentle, round-tailed giants sometimes known as sea cows that weigh as much as 1,200 pounds and can live as long as 65 years. Florida’s official state marine mammal but are listed as a threatened species. Manatees have cute cousins too. Their closest living relative is the elephant. TBT