Federal, state officials plan to feed struggling manatees

Florida manatees have faced a record die-off this year. Credit: Jim Reid/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to take the unprecedented step of feeding Florida manatees to help them survive the winter—a move that comes as the threatened species faces a record die-off. Over 1,000 manatees have died in Florida this year, prompting the USFWS and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to form a joint response team to conserve the species. Biologists blame the die-off on decades of seagrass loss in the Indian River Lagoon due to pollution. The feeding effort will focus on an area near the Kennedy Space Center, where manatees gather in the winter for warm waters discharged by a nearby power plant.

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