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'Unusual mortality event' leads to record number of manatee deaths

'Unusual mortality event' leads to record number of manatee deaths | 14 Jan 2022 | After a record number of manatees died from starvation last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have come together to form a Joint Unified Command to protect the gentle creatures. The "unusual mortality event" facing the manatees is being blamed on a lack of seagrass, the main food source for the creatures. The dearth of seagrass has been largely blamed on algal blooms that have disrupted Florida ecosystems for years. "For this event, I think what we're looking for are animals that are in respiratory distress," said Andy Garett, who also works with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He said people should keep an eye out for manatees that are returning to the surface more than every minute to breathe or manatees that are moving oddly in the water. The Joint Unified Command has also established a field response station at Cape Canaveral and is trying to provide lettuce to the manatees as a substitute for seagrass... If you see a manatee in need, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-FWCC.