Florida Moves to Save the Manatees

By  //  December 15, 2021

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Some people may not even know what manatees are, but this is not surprising considering that they are not really a popular animal, at least outside of America. They certainly are not spoken about with the same love and admiration that sea lions and walruses get, despite looking similar to the latter.

Like both of these marine animals, manatees are mammals but they are fully aquatic, meaning that they spend most of their time in the water. They have also been referred to as sea cows given their physical proportions and mannerisms. Like most cows, manatees are docile, gentle creatures that are generally vegetarian although some fish and molluscs make up a small part of their diet.

Those who live in Florida might be aware that West Palm Beach is home to many manatees, but marine biologists were shocked to discover that this year, more than 1000 manatees have died as a result of starvation.

That is an incredible 15% of the state’s manatee population. It isn’t exactly a headline that Florida will want to promote, considering the state is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the states. It is certainly popular with digital nomads as they enjoy travelling all over while completing remote work.

This is an increasingly popular way of living, and those who visit websites such as digitalnomads.world will find exactly why this is the case.

It will come as no surprise that the state of Florida has already begun to move to stop more of the same happening, as such a drop off in the population is alarming to many.

Officials have already announced their plans on Wednesday to try and save the manatees by introducing a trialled feeding program into the water around Cape Canaveral. The reason that the manatees are dying off is because they are struggling to find food because of the harsh winter conditions. The hope with this plan is that the manatees will be able to continue to eat despite the conditions. 

However, even with this plan in place, expert biologists predict that it won’t be enough to stop hundreds more of the manatees from perishing. Although vegetables such as lettuce and cabbages will be deposited in their familiar warm water spots, it is unlikely that there will be enough to feed the entire population.

This is because manatees rely on seagrass to survive as it is their main food source. Fortunately, it is plentiful which normally means that manatees thrive. In the waters off West Palm Beach though, the seagrass has been ruined by pollutants and toxic algae, the latter of which is a result of climate change.

In essence, then, the decline of Florida’s manatees can be said to be the fault of humans, even if this is a small part of the issue. While the plan that is due to take place at Cape Canaveral is an admirable one, people will still question why more is not being done to save the manatees that will eventually perish. 

As one reason why the seagrass is becoming ruined is climate change, humans can start to make changes themselves, but this is always hopeful thinking when global warming is considered.