Algae bloom kills record number of manatees in Florida

March 12, 2013FLORIDA Florida’s endangered manatees have long suffered from human activity, but this year they face an especially deadly threat hidden in the waters where they swim. An algae bloom off southwest Florida, called Florida red tide, has killed 174 manatees since January, the highest number to die from red tide in a calendar year, state wildlife officials said Monday. A red tide is a higher than normal concentration of a microscopic algae that appears in the Gulf of Mexico. At high enough concentrations, the algae can turn the water red or brown, hence the name. Red tides happen almost every year in southwest Florida and sometimes last just a few weeks, but this year the red tide has lingered and settled in an area of warm water where the manatees have migrated. “It’s kind of filled in an area where they’ve congregated and are feeding on sea grass where the toxins settle on,” said Kevin Baxter, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Those toxins can affect the central nervous systems of fish and other vertebrates, causing the animals to die. Wildlife officials and their partners have this year rescued 12 manatees suffering from the effects of red tide. They asked the public to alert them to other ailing manatees who may be showing a lack of coordination and stability in the water, muscle twitches or seizures, and difficulty lifting their heads to breathe. Unlike other algae blooms, red tides are not caused by pollution, the wildlife service said. “Red tides occurred in Florida long before human settlement, and severe red tides were observed in the mid-1900s before the state’s coastlines were heavily developed,” the commission said. The blooms usually develop 10 to 40 miles offshore, away from man-made nutrient resources, it added. Red tides were documented in the southern Gulf as far back as the 1700s and along Florida’s Gulf coast in the 1840s, the commission said. “Fish kills near Tampa Bay were even mentioned in the records of Spanish explorers.” Manatees are listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Conservation efforts have led to an increase in the manatee population, the commission said, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a rule that would reclassify the manatee from endangered to threatened. –CNN
This entry was posted in Acquatic Ecosystem crash, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Ecology overturn, Environmental Threat, High-risk potential hazard zone, Marine animal strandings, Mass animal deaths, Red Tide, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Algae bloom kills record number of manatees in Florida

  1. bobby90247 says:

    I’ve known these animals were on the brink of extinction for a long time…this really hurts their species! As I understand them, they are a very “docile” animal.


  2. Puckles says:

    My husband and I were in Florida a few months ago and were able to see some of these beautiful and gentle creatures in the wild and in captivity. This breaks my heart. These animals have no natural predators, yet mankind is killing them by ruining this earth.


  3. No Go says:

    We’ve been in Florida during a red tide outbreak and it’s awful. You can’t walk on the beach because tons of dead fish wash up; and the red tide causes you to cough uncontrollably and eyes water. It’s extremely unhealthy. If you’re near the beach, you can’t keep your windows open for fresh air because the red tide blows in and you’ll be coughing all day long. Yet, as usual, no one really knows what causes it or how to control it.


  4. tonic says:

    Whatever the reasons, animals, fish, and bees, are dying.
    Explanations will always be given. But sadly, only when awareness grips the population of what is really occurring will action take place.
    Event have passed this now. It’s what the masses want to hear….
    Not what they need to.


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