Warm weather is on the way for Florida manatees, so supplemental feedings will end soon
Wildlife agencies say they are winding down a program to provide supplemental lettuce for starving manatees in the Indian River Lagoon.
The program will be discontinued in about two weeks. By then some 200,000 pounds of lettuce will have been provided at a Cape Canaveral power plant, where the cold-sensitive manatees gather for warmth during the winter.
The wildlife agencies began offering the lettuce in December.
“Once the animals started eating on site on January 20, from that date forward they’ve eaten virtually every scrap we’ve put out,” says Scott Calleson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Calleson says the weather is now warming, which means the manatees are looking elsewhere for food.
He says the wildlife agencies will continue to monitor the manatees after ending the program. The agencies have not ruled out providing the lettuce again next winter.
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