Manatee deaths increase in Florida as pollutants kill seagrass

Wildlife officials told the House Commission on Tuesday that manatees starved hundreds of people along the east coast of Florida. Algae grow and pollutants kill seagrass eaten by beloved marine mammals.

Seagrass It was decimated in the 156-mile-long Indian River Lagoon and surrounding areas. Aquatic plants grow in clear sand water, but muddy water due to algae and pollutants makes it difficult for seagrass to survive, says Melissa Tucker, director of habitat and species conservation. Told. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“State-wide deaths from all sources are higher than previously reported,” Tucker told the House State Commission. “This is a matter of hunger. There are not enough seagrass available for manatees.”

Authorities noticed a surge in manatee deaths between December and May, when sea slugs gathered in the warm waters. According to Tucker, 677 manatees died during that period, usually only 156.

Manatee mortality has leveled off since May, but as mammals expand in summer and autumn, the state recorded 968 manatee deaths in 2021 with more than two months left in a year. increase. According to Tucker, the highest number of deaths in 2013 was 830.

According to Tucker, the massive deaths of manatees over the past few years have been caused by temporary events such as algae outbreaks and unusual cold weather, but it will take longer for seagrass problems to resolve. There is a possibility. Efforts have been made to replant seagrass and restore the clam and oyster beds so that mollusks can help filter the water, she said.

“This is what we’re trying to manage and improve for years, and in some cases decades,” she said.

Republican Thad Altman, a member of Brevard County, where manatees are generally prosperous, said it would be difficult to regenerate seagrass unless the water was clean. He said that manatees still eat seaweed roots and kill aquatic plants forever.

“We literally have a catastrophe in our hands,” Altman said.

Manatee deaths increase in Florida as pollutants kill seagrass

Source link Manatee deaths increase in Florida as pollutants kill seagrass

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