Florida manatee feeding plan ends, starvation still an issue

Posted at 3:12 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 15:12:31-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The unprecedented, experimental program to feed starving manatees in Florida is ending but the greater issue is the polluted water that causes the marine mammals to run out of their natural seagrass forage.

Wildlife officials said Thursday that more than 202,000 pounds (91,600 kilograms) of lettuce has been fed to manatees at a power plant on Florida’s east coast where the animals gather in cold months because of the warm water discharge. Most of the cost was through donations from around the world.

With summer’s onset, that effort is ending but probably will resume next winter. Many manatees are still stressed from chronic malnutrition that won’t disappear just because of warmer weather.