Craig Pittman Profile picture
THE STATE YOU'RE IN & MANATEE INSANITY both out in paperback now! Other books: NYT bestseller OH, FLORIDA! & CAT TALE. Columnist, Florida Phoenix. Florida man.

Mar 30, 2022, 10 tweets

Weekly #Florida #manatee press conference starting now, with speakers from @MyFWC & @USFWSVero. Tom Reinert of @MyFWC says with the warmer weather, manatees are moving out from the lettuce-feeding area near Cape Canaveral.

@MyFWC @USFWSVero Maj. Dustin Bonds of @MyFWC promises increased patrols all along #Florida's East Coast in areas where #manatees are known to congregate. Deaths are still elevated from normal but not as high as they were, he says.

Ron Mezich of @MyFWC says number of #manatees feeding at the site are now between 45-70 (were once a high of 800). They have fed them 193,000 pounds of lettuce since began eating it Jan. 20.

Last truckload of lettuce -- 8,000 lbs -- scheduled to arrive Thursday, and Friday is likely to be the last day of feeding #manatees at the site, says Mezich. The staff will continue monitoring #Florida's 1st-ever supplemental feeding site for 2 weeks, he said.

There's your headline, btw. #Florida ending feeding experiment to save starving #manatees, but it's likely to come back next winter.

Common to see between 150-350 animals per day in January, says Mezich. Do not know how many #manatees were saved by the #Florida supplemental feeding effort, he says, responding to a question.

The lettuce cost about 60 cents a lb, says Mezich of @MyFWC, which means they spent $85,000 on it over the 3-month effort to save starving #Florida #manatees. The cost was covered by donations to the @wildlife_fl from all over the world.

Major Dustin Bonds says they have not calculated the total cost of the operation yet -- look for that in after-action report April-May. Mezich says work ongoing on transplanting seagrass into the Indian River Lagoon for #Florida #manatees to graze on again someday.

This concludes the weekly #Florida #manatee press conference on the extraordinary effort to feed them before they starve to death. Next week will be the wrap-up -- until next winter. Anyone who wants to contribute to the feeding program can donate here:…

One final note: @MyFWC requests that anyone who sees a sick, injured, orphaned or dead #Florida #manatee to contact them, because that's how they have found most of them. Call: 888-404-FWCC(3922)
You may also use #FWC or *FWC from your cell phone.

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