Manatee deaths are at an all-time high due to seagrass loss.

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The loss of seagrass has resulted in a record number of manatee deaths.

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have formed a Joint Unified Command to protect manatees after a record number of them died of starvation last year.

The manatees’ “unusual mortality event” is being blamed on a lack of seagrass, which is the creatures’ primary food source.

Algal blooms, which have disrupted Florida ecosystems for years, are largely to blame for the lack of seagrass.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have joined forces to form a Joint Unified Command to protect manatees after a record number of them died of starvation last year.

The manatees’ “unusual mortality event” is being blamed on a lack of seagrass, the creatures’ primary food source.

Algal blooms, which have disrupted Florida ecosystems for years, have been blamed for the lack of seagrass.

In an interview with AccuWeather National Reporter Kim Leoffler, Ron Mezich of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission explained, “Seagrass in the lagoon is a plant that requires light, just like most land plants.”

However, “permanent algae blooms that have occurred and are continuing to occur over the last eight to ten years block light,” effectively cutting off the manatees’ main food source.

The Joint Unified Command was formed because the seagrass crisis was not expected to be resolved this year.

Since the organization’s inception, 23 manatees have been rescued, the majority of which were discovered on Florida’s east coast.

Concerned citizens contacted the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, which resulted in many of the rescues.

The Joint Unified Command has also set up a field response station at Cape Canaveral and is attempting to feed lettuce to the manatees in place of seagrass.

Unfortunately, many manatees are refusing to eat the lettuce because it is unfamiliar to them.

“We don’t always see the same animals on a regular basis, so it’s a challenge for us,” Mezich said, adding that the group is experimenting with different distribution methods, such as placing the lettuce in various locations throughout the area and at various levels of submersion in the…

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