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Marine Mammal Fund

We’re raising money to support habitat restoration, rescue, and rehabilitation for Florida’s beloved manatees.

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In 2021, FWC recorded 1,101 manatee deaths, many due to starvation in the Indian River Lagoon. The lagoon used to house acres of seagrass that manatees would naturally forage on. Nutrient runoff and pollution have created toxic algae blooms that choked out aquatic plants. Now all that remains are food deserts for an animal that typically would consume almost 10% of its body weight per day, setting the stage for the unprecedented supplemental feeding trial from December through the end of March in 2022 and 2023. Thanks to donations from you, we were able to purchase more than 600,00 pounds of lettuce total to be fed to manatees at Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Cape Canaveral Plant. Manatee mortality dropped significantly, and seagrass recovered enough in Mosquito Lagoon to not require feeding in 2024.

We also support the rescue and rehabilitation of manatees throughout Florida. We helped FPL purchase a new climate-controlled manatee rescue truck for FWC, stocked with equipment to keep manatees comfortable during transport. Ferman Automotive Group of Tampa generously wrapped the truck just days ahead of the truck’s first rescue saving a manatee on the east coast that is still receiving care at SeaWorld. and thanks to $103,000 from donors to Greater Good Charities, we funded rehabilitation efforts at ZooTampa and Jacksonville Zoo. Manatees suffering from starvation and other injuries were able to recover in comfort before being returned to the wild.

While all of these measures are necessary, they are short-term solutions. We are committed to the long-term work of restoring the lagoon’s overall health by replanting vegetation at eight sites in the lagoon with promising water quality. At one such site, the Loxahatchee River, which is a tributary for the lagoon, 60,000 eelgrass plants were transplanted this spring and are being protected so they can expand rapidly, becoming an important food source for manatees. Underwater plants are the lungs of the lagoon. Two-and-a-half acres of seagrass can support as many as 100,000 fish and 100 million invertebrates, in addition to providing manatees with a crucial food source. Funding for these plantings has come from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Coypu Foundation, the Arthur L. & Elaine V. Johnson Foundation, Mr. Daniel Maltz, the Fox Rock Foundation, and many others. And thanks to the World of Beer restaurant chain, there is even a beer benefitting manatees — $1 from every purchase will support manatee conservation going forward.

The Foundation’s Marine Mammal Fund can also support the conservation of Florida’s dolphins and whales. While some of our marine mammals have seen remarkable population increases over the years, others are still in critical need. By working together, we can ensure that they call Florida home for generations to come.

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Protecting Wild Florida Begins With You.

Protecting wild Florida begins with you. From Pensacola Bay to Key West, our Foundation is working to protect Florida’s natural lands and waters and the wildlife they harbor.

Help ensure future generations can experience wild Florida by donating now.



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