Monday, 3 September 2018

Toxic 'red tide' blamed for rise of manatee deaths in Florida



Experts blame a cold snap at the beginning of the year and algae bloom in the Gulf of Mexico for the fatalities
Associated Press
Tue 21 Aug 2018 00.01 BSTLast modified on Tue 21 Aug 2018 15.19 BST
Manatees are dying in alarming numbers in Florida this year – the toll significantly increased by the “red tide” toxic algae bloom blighting large areas of the coast and threatening wildlife and tourism.
More of the large, slow-moving herbivores, also known as sea cows, have died so far in 2018 than all of last year, according to state wildlife statistics reported on Monday.
A total of 540 manatees had died by 12 August this year, compared with 538 in 2017. Experts blame a cold snap at the beginning of the year and the tide of algae in the Gulf of Mexico for the fatalities.
“We expect the red tide related manatee death toll to rise,” said Jeff Ruch, executive director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a Washington-based non-profit. “We suspect there are a number of carcasses that have not been reported yet.”
Statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say that red tide is to blame for at least 97 manatee deaths. 
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The toxic algae bloom has overrun Florida’s southern Gulf Coast this summer, devastating sea life and driving people from the water. Over the weekend, television newscasts warned viewers before they showed graphic video of dead manatees in the water.


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