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Officials: Florida manatees eat 'every scrap' in food trial

manatee
Posted at 12:53 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 12:53:04-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — One thing wildlife officials have learned during the winter experimental feeding program to help manatees avoid starvation is that if you feed them, they will come.

Officials said Wednesday that manatees have eaten virtually all of the estimated 160,000 pounds of lettuce provided at a warm-water power plant site where manatees typically congregate during cold months.

It wasn’t clear the the manatees would eat the lettuce when the unprecedented program began in December.

But officials say that since Jan. 20 the slow-moving marine mammals have feasted on the food made necessary after more than 1,100 manatees died largely from starvation last year, the worst year for the threatened species on record.