Florida is beyond a tough milestone: 1000 dead manatees

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Since July, weekly updates from the state’s wildlife authorities have recorded the most manatee deaths of the year. On Wednesday, Florida crossed a particularly tragic threshold: more than 1,000 manatees died.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the exact number by November 12 was 1,003 manatees.

This is an increase from 637 last year, well above the previous record of 830 in 2013. Florida broke the previous record high in mid-2021. Manatee death reports are submitted every Friday and will be issued by the state next Wednesday.

“It makes me sad and angry,” said Patrick Rose, Managing Director of the Nature Maintenance Nonprofit Save the Manatee Club.

The bad year started soon.Manatees evacuated from Cold water According to scientists, by a warm discharge from a power plant in the Indian River Lagoon off Brevard County. The area is a typical wintering ground, but over the years, blue-green algae have sprung up and tens of thousands of acres of seagrass have died. Due to its destruction, the manatees have lost enough food. Many people were hungry.

“It could have been prevented,” Rose said. NS Aoko The people who destroyed the lagoon are fueled by human pollution, such as septic tank and sewer overflows and fertilizer spills during storms.

Hunger is not the only cause Manatees But death. Nearly 100 people were killed in collisions with boats and other vessels, according to Nature Conservancy Council data. Red tide is also contributing. The Tampa Bay and Pinellas coastlines were hit hard by toxic flowers this summer.

Due to the disappearance of 2021, some people Long-term health It is one of Florida’s most beloved and iconic species. Manati has been listed as an endangered species after federal wildlife regulators improved its status from endangered species in 2017. In recent years, the Conservation Commission estimates that at least 7,520 animals are alive.

Republican US Congressman Vern Buchanan submitted a bill in August to return manatees to endangered species. If passed, the HR 4946 will be able to attract more money and attention, Buchanan said, hoping that it will help protect the creatures.

“I represent Manatee County. Manatees are loved there, but they are loved throughout Florida,” said Buchanan. “People are very passionate about it.”

Manatees aren’t just cute, Rose said. Their health is a signal of well-being for the entire ecosystem. Many fish and turtles also eat and live in seagrass. Poor water quality It affects human health.

The damage that caused the die-off last winter cannot be easily repaired. State scientists and conservationists are afraid to repeat if the manatees around Brevard County struggle to find food again this winter.

2021 broke Florida’s record of manatee death in just six months and one year

2021 Tampa Bay Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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