Dozens of Florida manatees in rehab amid ongoing starvation – Repeating Islands

About 20 young manatees that have been rehabilitated will be released in the wild by the end of February, she added. In 2022, 20 more manatees died while in rehab. The rehab centers, including others in Texas, Ohio and Puerto Rico, are needed for manatees suffering through a widespread starvation event as pollution chokes off the seagrass they need to survive cold months.

The problem reached a peak in 2021 with a record 1,100 manatee deaths. In 2022, officials say 783 manatee deaths have been confirmed through Dec. 23 from all causes, including boat strikes.

Last year, about 202,000 pounds (91,600 kilograms) of lettuce was fed to manatees that can gather at Cape Canaveral by the thousands during winter. The greater goal is to reduce pollution from agriculture, urban and sewage sources that has caused a die-off in the seagrass beds manatees depend on for food especially on the east coast. One water management district found that there has been a 75% drop in seagrass in the critical Indian River Lagoon since 2009.

Dozens of Florida manatees in rehab amid ongoing starvation – Repeating Islands