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Environment

Wildlife agencies say feedings for starving manatees are part of a broad strategy

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David Hinkle/USFWS
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Wildlife agencies announced an unprecedented effort to provide supplemental food for starving manatees in the ailing Indian River Lagoon.

The measure is aimed at preventing another record die-off this winter. 

Wildlife agencies announced Wednesday an unprecedented effort to provide supplemental food for starving manatees in the ailing Indian River Lagoon. 

They say the measure is part of a broad strategy aimed at preventing another record die-off this winter. 

The wildlife agencies say the feedings also are aimed at reducing rescues of the iconic sea cows, as rehabilitation centers are at risk for overcrowding. 

Thomas Eason of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the plan is to establish a field station, where rescues, recoveries and supplemental feedings will be based. 

“Boats likely are not involved and people, the food isn’t coming directly from people. And it’s basically going to be romaine lettuce so we’re working with grocery store distributors and other partners to get the right amount there.”   

The field station will be at the Cape Canaveral power plant, where manatees gather during the winter for warmth. More than 1,000 manatees have died this year in Florida. 

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