Manatees have been dying in record-breaking numbers. However that pattern could also be slowing down


Document-breaking numbers of manatees have died in Florida the previous few years. However knowledge from a not too long ago launched report might point out that that pattern is slowing down this yr—no less than thus far.

In line with a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee, 431 manatees died throughout Florida from Jan. 1 to Aug. 25. In 2022, that determine was 669 manatees, and in 2021, it was 928 manatees. The five-year common of manatee deaths is 597.

The earlier unprecedented manatee mortality was linked to hunger throughout the colder months when manatees migrated to and thru the Indian River Lagoon, the place the vast majority of seagrass had been dying off. This began affecting the Indian River Lagoon, a habitat central to Florida’s manatee migration, in 2020.

This yr, far fewer deaths have been attributed to hunger, stated Martine DeWit, a analysis scientist with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Analysis Institute, in an e mail to the Miami Herald. In line with graphs on the FWC web site, manatee deaths linked to hunger have been in decline since early 2022.

“One of many fundamental causes for that is some restoration of seagrass in components of the Indian River Lagoon, a pattern that began final summer time,” DeWit stated.

This spring, a number one explanation for loss of life was the crimson tide bloom, which was first documented in November 2022. Throughout a crimson tide, fast-growing algae produce toxins that may kill fish and different marine creatures. The crimson tide bloom killed 85 manatees in southwest Florida this March, based on the FWC.

Nonetheless, there’s a human-related exercise that continues to assert the lives of Florida’s manatees—boating. Seventy-two manatee deaths thus far in 2023 have been linked to watercraft.

“What the information present is that watercraft collisions stay essentially the most important explanation for loss of life statewide through the years, whether or not the quantity goes up or down from yr to yr,” DeWit stated. “…That is in step with inhabitants fashions that determine watercraft-related mortality as one of many fundamental threats to the inhabitants long-term.”

The place did most of Florida’s manatees die?

Lee County: 98
Pinellas County: 42
Brevard County: 36
Volusia County: 26
Hillsborough County: 24
Charlotte County: 23
Citrus County: 22
Manatee County: 19
Sarasota County: 19
Collier County: 16
Duval County: 14
Monroe County: 13
Broward County: 10
Miami-Dade County: 9

What you are able to do

Assist ‘Combating for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It solely takes a minute. Thanks.


Combating for Wildlife helps authorized wildlife conservation organizations, which spend no less than 80 % of the cash they increase on precise fieldwork, slightly than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you’ll be able to designate for which kind of initiative it must be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or local weather.

This article by Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald was first printed by on 6 September 2023. Lead Picture: Credit score: Pixabay/CC0 Public Area.


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