Florida Manatees are one of the rarest species in the world. They are creatures that have been listed as an endangered species in the IUCN Red List.
This is largely because the population of the manatees has been decreasing at a rapid pace in the last few years. A number of deaths were reported back to back. This left the scientists wondering why are the Florida Manatees dying?
In order to find the answer, a group of scientists conducted research. The answer they found was utterly shocking and heartbreaking. The group found that the large animals are dying due to a lack of food.
Starvation was the only reason for their mass demise. The first couple of months recorded a staggering three hundred manatee deaths due to lack of food. One of the main reasons for their starvation is the depletion of their natural food.
The manatees like to munch on seagrasses. However, these seagrasses have diminished in number significantly. This happened due to increased levels of water pollution.
Toxic chemicals and plastics are constantly being fed to the water bodies. This has taken a huge toll on the entire marine life. Not only is the pollution directly causing the deaths of sea animals, but it is also acting as a catalyst for other serious consequences.
The constant dumping of harmful chemicals has destroyed the seagrass. It has also affected the growth and nourishment of the same. Thus, the manatees could not get their preferred item of food which led them to starvation.
The problem of starvation has become like a pandemic for the Florida manatees. To address the situation, drastic measures have been taken.
The government has made it a mission to feed the manatees 3000lbs of lettuce on a daily basis. The government has planned to do the distribution across the coastal areas of Florida.
Let us learn more about the story of Florida manatees in detail below.
Florida Manatees To Be Rescued By The Government
The rising cases of starvation have made the government sit up and take note. They have already rescued eighty manatees from the grasp of starvation. These creatures are currently being treated at rehab centers all over the United States Of America.
The level of pollution has increased so dramatically, that acres of seagrasses have vanished. According to statistics, almost 46000 acres of seagrass have died since the year 2009.
The death tally of the manatees has been on the rise for a long time. However, all the records were broken when 2021 recorded a death tally of 1100 Florida manatees. The previous high was in 2013 when the total death count was tallied at 830.
These statistics made the environmentalists very angry. They lashed out at the government for being ignorant of the situation. It was only then that the government undertook the mass feeding mission.
Florida Manatees’ Situation Must Be Addressed Before It Is Too Late
As an immediate response to the grave situation, the government set up a makeshift site. The site was put up at the largest electric utility of Florida, Florida Power, and Light.
A fund of $700,000 was set aside to revive the manatee population. According to reports from Associated Press, over 63000 lbs of lettuce has been distributed so far. Eight hundred Florida manatees were being fed at a time.
Rodney Barreto is heading the manatee’s feeding mission. Rodney stated that the team was determined to make the project work. However, all these efforts did not please the environment enthusiasts at all.
They termed the project as a temporary solution. The environmentalists want the government to curb the amount of marine pollution. This would lead to the growing back of seagrasses naturally, solving the problem of starvation for the Florida Manatees.
It now remains to be seen what decisions the government takes in the future.