Created by Wanda Jones, Ph.D., marine mammal biologist 1/9/2022
Statement by Wanda Jones, Ph.D., Marine Mammal Biologist Re: Inadequate FWC Response to Manatee Starvation in Northern Indian River Lagoon (1/9/22)
To all concerned parties,
The purpose of this white paper is to share information that is important to know regarding the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) current ineffectual efforts to save the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) manatee population, despite being given prior advice from experts that could have ensured the success of those efforts.
As a marine mammal biologist who conducted a manatee feeding preferences study as part of my graduate program at the University of Florida, I am extremely concerned with the status of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Florida manatee population and the fact that manatees, adults, juveniles, and babies, are dying every day. One or more manatees are taking their last breath as I write this paper.
Not a single manatee had to die from starvation in Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 if the proper starvation prevention program had been implemented by the FWC in a timely manner. It is believed approximately a hundred or more documented and undocumented manatees have died between November 2021 to January 2022 and this shows a striking inability of the FWC directors and administrators in Tallahassee to effectively manage the conservation of the Florida manatee.
These studies support the information given to the FWC from the rehabilitation facilities. The IRL feeding attempt was not actually an experimental feeding program because the FWC already knew, based on information it had previously received, that wild manatees won’t eat lettuce. The IRL feeding attempt is not unprecedented regarding the feeding starving wildlife because similar feeding programs have been successfully implemented for terrestrial wildlife. The IRL feeding attempt is unprecedented because this type of activity has not been previously attempted for manatees
Read the entire paper by downloading it below