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a manatee floating in the water - why are manatees endangered in florida?

A manatee floating in the sea.

February 14, 2022

Manatees Endangered in Florida: Biologists Take Action

Ask Students: Why are manatees endangered in Florida? Where is their natural habitat? Why have manatees died off in record numbers in the past two years?


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Last year was the deadliest on record for manatees, many of whom starved to death because of a lack of seagrass. A die-off is happening again this year, and federal and state officials as well as volunteers in Florida are trying to save starving manatees with a pilot-feeding project this winter. But as Miles O’Brien reports, there are also larger environmental problems in the water. Watch the video below for more details on why manatees are endangered. 

Discussion Questions: Why Are Manatees Endangered?

  • Where is the manatees’ natural habitat?
  • Why have manatees died off in record numbers in the past two years?
  • Who is trying to save the manatees from starvation?
  • How are they approaching the problem?
  • What are some reasons the manatee habitat is threatened?

Focus Questions

This piece focuses on ways scientists are helping manatees by feeding them directly. What do you think are the best ways to help restore their habitat so they don’t need emergency help?

Media literacy: Do you think this piece clearly explained the reasons for the destruction of the manatees’ habitat? What else would you like to know about the causes of the pollution?

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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