This is happening despite a joint federal-state emergency effort to drop tons of lettuce and other produce to starving manatees. The unprecedented feeding operation began on January 20 for manatees that gather in the warm waters near a power plant on Florida’s east coast particularly in the Indian River Lagoon, as they typically do during cold months.
PEER also claims the state has reduced the rate of necropsies, so that precise causes of manatee deaths are harder to pinpoint. The group says 280 manatee carcasses, 70% of the total, were not necropsied, and even higher percentage than in 2021.
“Without necropsies, state officials are flying blind in the middle of a biological storm,” stated PEER Executive Director Tim Whitehouse, noting that major causes of manatee mortality, such as watercraft strikes, are not being tracked. “Not pinpointing the causes makes it that much harder to recognize effective solutions.”