State and federal government feed manatees lettuce after year of high mortality

FORT MYERS

A difficult year for the manatees is coming to an end.

It has been the deadliest year for manatees and now warmer temperatures could put them at even greater risk.

The high number of deaths is due to mortality and pollution of seagrass beds.

State and federal governments are trying to help sea cows by bending the rules and their lettuce.

They’re doing it near FPL’s Clean Energy Center in Brevard County, but there’s a problem.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said their team didn’t see many sea cows and manatees weren’t interested until now.

“It is far too early to judge whether this would succeed or not,” said Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club.

Rose believes that with higher temperatures, the manatees don’t need the powerhouse’s warm refuge and may find food elsewhere.

“The idea is that then they have food presented to them by the Fish Wildlife Commission and hopefully this will allow the malnourished animals to have enough food to overwinter until things are heating up, ”Rose said. “So it’s a little way to help them get through the most, the worst, the worst of the situation this winter, but we have a lot more to do to restore this ecosystem.”

While they wait for the manatee to visit, the FWC said they continue to deploy floating PVC pipe corrals every day during the casual manatee visit and they are interested in the lettuce offered.

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