Florida’s state marine mammal, the manatee, is falling prey to plastics

Affectionately known as “sea cows,” manatees are a treasured sight along Florida’s coastline. These slow-moving, gentle giants can weigh up to 1,200 pounds, subsisting solely on a vegetarian spread of seagrass and algae. But their diets too often include something that doesn’t belong – plastic.

Oceana reviewed nearly 1,800 documented cases of plastic consumption and entanglement among marine animals in U.S. waters from 2009 to early 2020 and discovered that manatees, along with turtles, were disproportionately represented. Turtles comprised 48% of all cases, while manatees comprised 39%.

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