How you can help Florida manatee conservation efforts

ORLANDO, Florida – More than 1,050 manatees have died in Florida so far this year, just under double the number killed in 2020.

Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discussed the latest manatee mortality figures on Wednesday, as well as efforts to help manatees through the winter.

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FWC and Florida Power and Light are teaming up to create a temporary field response station at the Cape Canaveral power plant, along with an experimental supplemental power program. FWC contracts with lettuce suppliers to replace seagrass beds in the Indian River Lagoon. The death of these herbaria contributes to the death of the manatees because the sea cows do not have enough food.

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FWC is asking people not to try to feed the manatees on their own. However, State Senator Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, is looking for ways for the public to help FWC with the feeding program in particular, and manatee rescue efforts in general.

“I am working to see if a donation site for the lettuce collected is feasible, so that we can directly help this program. There are manatee lovers everywhere and I want to see how each can help, ”Stewart said in a statement.

FWC offered the following ways for the public to help. First, FWC urges the public to follow good boating practices by avoiding seagrass beds and shallow areas, recycle monofilaments and other debris, and follow waterway traffic signs. The agency is also asking residents to be more attentive to their impact on water quality by reducing the use of fertilizers in yards and modernizing septic tanks.

FWC suggests donating to the following groups:

  • Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership – This group is a consortium of zoos, laboratories, government agencies, companies like SeaWorld and the Save the Manatee Club, working on the rescue, rehabilitation and monitoring of manatees after having released them back into the wild.

There are also a number of groups offering volunteer opportunities:

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Finally, if you come across a sick or injured manatee, call the FWC Wildlife Alert toll free number: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922), or #FWC or * FWC on a mobile device.

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