A manatee (Trichechus manatus) in the Crystal River, Florida. Photo Credit: Frank Staub/Getty Images

Animals USA7. January 2022

This State Is Making Sure Its Sea Cows Are Being Fed

Authorities from Florida, United States, are undertaking a drastic yet imperative feeding plan to help maintain the state’s manatee population afloat.

Lettuce, cabbage, and other greens will be delivered in a controlled manner, for instance on a conveyer belt, starting in the Indian River Lagoon since manatees gather in its warm water during wintertime.

Manatees, also known as sea cows, were among the first animals put on the endangered species list back in 1967 when it was created. Following conservation efforts, the manatee population went from 1,000 to 8,000 in 2017, going from an “endangered” species to a “threatened” one. In 2021, more than 1,000 individuals – or 15% of the state’s total population – died due to starvation from a lack of seagrass they rely on to sustain themselves throughout the winter, hence the conservation effort officials have embarked on to prevent greater loss during the cold season.

Smithsonian Magazine

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