Florida’s Starving Manatees Are Being Fed in a Novel Way
It’s a sunny day in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP): — Officials in Florida are considering an unprecedented feeding program in response to the dire situation in which over 1,000 manatees are starving to death as a result of manmade pollution.
This week, the Fish and Wildlife Service and state environmental officials will unveil a limited proposal to feed the beloved marine mammals in a specific Florida location to see how it works. Save This isn’t something that would normally be done with a wild animal, but given the urgency of the situation, it has to be considered for now, according to Manatee Club Executive Director Patrick Rose.
Jimmy Buffet, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator, was one of the club’s co-founders when it opened in 1981.
Rose, speaking about the effects of climate change, said in an interview on Tuesday that “the entire ecosystem is affected by this and will be affected for a decade to come.” “This is a quick fix that needs to be implemented.” It’s a man-made problem that will require human intervention to solve.”
“The Fish and Wildlife Service has received approval to proceed with a limited feeding trial,” an agency spokesperson wrote in an email, but the details have yet to be finalized. An official announcement is expected later this week.
An emerging plan would involve feeding manatees at a Florida Power & Light plant in the Indian River Lagoon, where manatees congregate during the cold winter months due to warm water discharge. A conveyer belt or other method of delivery would be used in an experiment with lettuce, cabbage, and other greens, according to Rose.
It would be illegal to throw lettuce into a Florida bay without first obtaining a state permit.
“Under no circumstances will we tolerate anyone feeding manatees.” “You’re not going to be able to do it,” Rose stated emphatically.
For a long time, humans and manatees have had a tense relationship. Hundreds of manatees are killed every year by boats, prompting Florida to enact no-wake manatee zones, which are punishable by steep fines. According to state figures, 1,017 manatees died as a result of starvation as of Nov. 19.
Even in Florida, as winter approaches, a bad year is expected.
Runoff from farms, cities, and sewage has aided the growth of blue-green algae and other harmful organisms. Because it blocks the light required by seagrass, there is no food for manatees. As a result of climate change, algae blooms are getting worse.
Manatees aren’t the only species in danger of extinction. Algal blooms have the potential to harm human health as well as the health of aquatic animals such as crabs and dolphins. In addition to the protection of the animals, boat captains, sightseeing tours, and others who travel to Florida in search of the chance to see these creatures will suffer financial losses. “Save the manatees, and you’ll save the ecosystem.” Literally.” If we can solve this problem, manatees will thrive. “If we don’t, they won’t,” Rose warned. It’s a life or death situation.
Manatees were previously classified as endangered by the federal government, but their numbers appeared to have recovered enough in 2017 for their status to be changed to threatened. According to officials, Florida has between 7,000 and 8,000 animals.
Republicans such as U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan have been advocating for the species’ endangered status to be restored in order to gain more support and funding.
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