More Manatees Have Died In 2021 Than In Any Other Year In Florida’s Recorded History – CBS Miami

STUART (CBSMiami / AP) – In the first six months of 2021 alone, more manatees died than any other year in recorded Florida history.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that 841 manatee deaths were recorded between January 1 and July 2, breaking the previous record of 830 deaths in 2013 from a toxic red tide outbreak.

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The TCPalm website reports that more than half of the dead in the Indian River Lagoon and its environs have died in the Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin counties. The overwhelming majority of the deaths occurred in Brevard, where 312 manatees were killed.

Some biologists believe the water pollution is killing the seagrass beds in the area.

“Unprecedented manatee mortality from starvation was documented on the Atlantic coast last winter and spring,” wrote the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in Florida when it announced the record on Friday. “Most of the deaths occurred in the colder months when manatees migrated in and through the Indian River Lagoon, where most of the seaweed died.”

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Boat attacks are also a leading cause of manatee deaths, killing at least 63 people this year.

The manatee was once classified as Endangered by the federal government, but it was classified as Endangered in 2017. Environmentalists are calling for the animal to be classified as endangered again.

The federal government says about 6,300 manatees live in Florida’s waters, up from about 1,300 in the early 1990s.

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