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Worrisome excess mortality of manatees in Florida.

Manatees in Florida. | Posted on 2021-07-15 17:35

Florida breaks the annual record for manatee deaths in the first 6 months of 2021.

"Manatees (Trichechus) are a genus of large, herbivorous aquatic mammals , with a streamlined body, living in shallow coastal waters, in lagoons or river mouths and coastal marshes of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. are peaceful animals that need water of at least 20 ° C to live. Their large muzzle and their feeding method (grazers) are sometimes called "sea cows" or "sea cows" . (1)

The number of dead manatees in 2021 is rising sharply. In fact, more of them have died in the top 6 of this year than in any other year since Florida has listed them. It would appear that their deaths were mainly due to hunger due to the loss of seagrass beds, according to statements by state officials.

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 due to a toxic red tide outbreak. The TCPalm website reports that more than half of the deaths were seen in the Indian River Lagoon and surrounding areas; in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties.

The overwhelming majority of the deaths took place in Brevard, where 312 manatees perished.

Some biologists believe that water pollution is killing the seagrass beds in the area. "Unprecedented manatee mortality from starvation has been documented on the Atlantic coast this past winter and spring," the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute wrote in announcing the record Friday. “Most of the deaths occurred during the colder months, when the manatees migrated to and through the Indian River Lagoon, where the majority of seagrass beds died. "

As if that weren't enough, boat collisions are also a leading cause of manatee deaths, killing at least 63 individuals this year.

The manatee was once listed as endangered by the federal government, but was reclassified as endangered in 2017. Environmentalists are calling for the animal to be considered endangered again.

According to figures put forward by the federal government, about 6,300 manatees live in Florida waters, up from about 1,300 in the early 1990s.

(1) Source - Wikipedia.

Posted on 2021-07-15 17:35

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