ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The experimental program that has fed tons of lettuce to starving Florida manatees will begin to wind down soon as the weather warms.
Wildlife officials said Wednesday the feeding program at a power plant on Florida’s east coast so far has provided the slow-moving marine mammals with more than 128,000 pounds of food financed almost entirely by donations from across the U.S. and beyond.
The federal-state effort is aimed at preventing another die-off of manatees like Florida saw in 2021.
Last year, more than 1,100 manatees died, mostly because their favored seagrass source of food is disappearing due to water pollution.
This year, 400 deaths have been recorded so far.