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Environment

Florida wildlife agencies approve 'experimental feeding' for starving manatees

Rescued manatee in a tub
Amy Green
/
WMFE
Among the manatees rescued this year from Florida waters were 13 orphaned calves. At least two ended up at a SeaWorld rehabilitation center, where they faced a long recovery.

More than 1,000 manatees have perished this year in Florida.

Federal and state wildlife agencies have agreed to what they are describing as “experimental feeding” of starving manatees in the ailing Indian River Lagoon. 

The unprecedented measure is in response to a record die-off of the iconic sea cows this year in Florida. 

The feeding will take place near the Cape Canaveral power plant, a crucial warm water spot during the winter for manatees, which are sensitive to cold water. 

Pat Rose of the Save the Manatee Club says details still are in the works but that the manatees will be closely monitored. He says feeding manatees otherwise remains illegal. 

“It’s in response to really catastrophic losses of the seagrasses that really was totally preventable in our opinion. And it’s man-caused, and that’s why man really needs to intervene in this situation and get as many manatees through the winter as we possibly can.”  

More than 1,000 manatees have perished this year in Florida. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the agency will make a formal announcement on this and other measures later this week. 

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

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