ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Officials have now fed more than 55 tons of lettuce to starving Florida manatees as part of an experimental program to help the animals since their natural food is being destroyed by water pollution.
Wildlife officials said Wednesday the lettuce is funded by more than 1,000 individual donations. It's being provided to manatees that gather in the warm waters near a power plant on Florida’s east coast as they typically do during cold months.
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Federal officials said the feeding program has made a difference. Through Feb. 25 this year, about 375 confirmed manatee deaths have been recorded. That compares to 389 during the same period last year.