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

Two orphaned calves ended up at a SeaWorld rehabilitation center, where they faced a long recovery. Photo by Amy Green

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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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »