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Florida discontinues manatee winter feeding program after seagrass conditions improve

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials say a two-year experimental feeding program for starving Florida manatees will not immediately resume this winter as conditions have improved for the threatened marine mammals and the seagrass on which they depend. The manatees that typically gather in winter months near the warm-water discharge of a power plant on Florida’s east coast were fed thousands of pounds of lettuce. State and federal wildlife officials launched the program after pollution killed off vast seagrass beds, leading to a record of over 1,100 manatee deaths in 2021. This season, officials say the seagrass has started to recover in key winter foraging areas on the east coast, and there appear to be fewer manatees in poor physical condition going into the colder months.

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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