Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida
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Manatee’s Post Feeding Trial Future

Towson, Maryland may be almost 1,000 miles from Indian River Lagoon, the site of hundreds of manatees deaths, but that didn’t stop a group of dedicated fourth grade students from helping Florida’s state marine mammal.

Ms. Mohr of West Towson Elementary School in the small town outside of Baltimore asked her students to research a social issue and write opinion paragraphs on their selected topic. Many students chose to research Florida’s manatees but took their projects one step further.

“When the students learned that the manatees were starving, they wanted to raise money to help,” said Mohr.

Collectively, the students raised $468.37 to help replant eelgrass in the Indian River Lagoon.

In 2021, FWC recorded 1,101 manatee deaths, many due to starvation, which set the stage for the unprecedented supplemental feeding trial. Warm water refuge sites for wintering manatees used to house acres of eelgrass that manatees would naturally forage on. Nutrient runoff and pollution have created toxic algae blooms that choke out aquatic plants like eelgrass and seagrass. Now all that remains are food deserts for an animal that typically would consume almost 10% of its body weight per day.

The students’ donation will help replant the missing grass, which will not only provide future food sources for manatees but help to improve water quality in Indian River Lagoon for hundreds of other species.

The generous student donation coincided with more good manatee news: a new rescue truck hit the streets on Friday to aid in transportation of sick and injured manatees  to critical care centers across the state. Courtesy of Florida Power & Light, the climate-controlled truck is 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 Friday morning.

The FWC supplemental feeding trial may have ended, but our Foundation is still collecting donations to further rescue and transport efforts for injured and sick manatees. Donate to our Marine Mammal Fund here.

 

 

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