Record 16 Percent of Florida's Manatee Population Died This Year

Categories: Environmental

Over 800 manatees have died this year in Florida waters; the highest number of deaths recorded since records were initiated back in the '70s. That's sixteen percent of the state's total population, and more than twice the number of manatees that died last year.

The 803 manatees that have died so far this year top the old record from 2010, when 766 sea cows died. That year's deaths were blamed on a cold snap; this year's number was partially attributed to a massive outbreak of red tide according to the Tampa Bay Times. About 276 manatees died due to the red tide bloom along the Southwest coast earlier this year.

Several more deaths can be attributed to a mysterious ailment that has affected wildlife in the Indian River Lagoon, a phenomenon scientists can't quite explain. A mysterious algae bloom has sprung up in the body water which blocks light to the sea grass. Nearly 60 percent of the lagoon's sea grass has died off in the past three years. Meanwhile, record number of manatees, dolphins and pelicans have also died in the lagoon. The death toll since mid-2012 includes 76 dolphins, 250 brown pelicans and 116 manatees.

All-in-all this year's death toll is shocking and could have serious consequences for the future of the species. About 173 of the manatees that died this year were breeding age females.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

"Several more deaths can be attributed to a mysterious ailment that has affected wildlife in the Indian River Lagoon, a phenomenon scientists can't quite explain.  A mysterious algae bloom has sprung up..."

Really?  Mysterious!?  It's been pretty adequately explained in the press and scientific papers - discharge from Lake O (to protect sugar interests) and, to a lesser degree, septic tank discharge.  Nothing mysterious about it, and to insinuate some kind of mystery is a grave disservice to the people (and manatees) who call the Indian River Lagoon home - and a middle finger to any sort of due diligence in journalism or even the most basic research.

I have frequently read comments on MNT that sound a bit like that last paragraph, and I have taken them to be hyperbole and ranting.  I never imagined that I would be writing such a comment.  But here I am, ranting, and I am ashamed: ashamed of you because of your flippancy and laziness, and ashamed of myself for ever believing this publication to be credible.

Perhaps the usual suspects will now enter stage right and chide me for ever having believed MNT to be credible.  Fair enough.  This time, though -- this time I have no choice but to agree.

Tina Kamenel
Tina Kamenel

Oh this is tragic! So sad . The only enemy they have is mankind.

Constanza Maute
Constanza Maute

And more will die when we develop all the marinas being planned

EzƦă VɅǹ
EzƦă VɅǹ

I'm sure spilling 10 million gazllion gallons of oil in the gulf had nothing to do with this.

Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

Mother nature is a Bitch.


Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault