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With cooler weather comes worries about Florida's ailing manatees

Wildlife agencies offered lettuce to starving manatees in the Indian River Lagoon last winter.
Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission
Wildlife agencies offered lettuce to starving manatees in the Indian River Lagoon last winter., and they're ready to do it again.

Wildlife agencies say they are ready for a cold snap this weekend that likely will stress Florida’s manatees. They’re prepared to provide supplemental lettuce for starving manatees in the Indian River Lagoon as soon as Friday.

It will be the second year the wildlife agencies have taken the unprecedented step of providing lettuce for manatees at the power plant in Cape Canaveral.


But Jon Wallace of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the agencies are ready to rescue ailing manatees across the east coast. “I think the overall cost is going to be really hard to get our heads around, but it’s well into seven digits.”

Manatees in the Indian River Lagoon have been especially hard-hit, as water quality problems have led to seagrass losses. A record 1,100 manatees died last year in Florida.

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