Munching manatees seen eating food provided by Florida wildlife officials

A program to feed manatees facing starvation in Florida is starting to show some positive results.

Manatee feeding stations have been placed around the state, but the marine mammals were not showing much interest.

READ: ‘It’s heartbreaking’: What’s being done to curb record manatee deaths

On Friday, officials with Florida Fish and Wildlife shared video of manatees using the stations to eat lettuce that was given to them.

FWC teams found groups of munching manatees eating the vegetation that was provided to them for the first time on Thursday.

“While this is an encouraging step, we do not yet know if this behavior will continue,” FWC said.

READ: Record number of manatees counted at Blue Spring State Park

FWC said they will continue to provide food, monitor manatees on-site and are assisting and responding to manatees that are suffering along the Atlantic coast.

Water pollution and other issues have caused the sea grass beds that manatees feed on to die off, leaving the sea cows little to nothing to eat in parts of Florida.

Florida data shows a record 1,101 manatee died, mainly from starvation, in 2021.

READ: Manatee feeding experiment starts slowly as cold looms

FWC wants to also remind people not to take matters into their own hands.

Florida state and federal law makes it illegal for people to feed manatees on their own.

With another cold weather front coming this weekend, Florida’s manatee population is still facing troubling times ahead.

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