Manatees are being threatened in southwest Florida but this time, it’s not from watercrafts. 174 of these beautiful creatures have died since January because of something called an algae bloom. CNN reported on March 12 that this deadly algae is formed by a red tide, which is a higher than normal concentration of microscopic algae. It can eventually turn brown or red when the concentration gets way high.
According to wildlife officials, this deadly tide has caused the highest number of manatee deaths in a calendar year. The toxins become settled on the sea grass where the innocent creatures congregate and feed on. This will end up killing the animals as it attacks their nervous system causing muscle twitches, instability and even seizures.
Red tides are not uncommon as they have occurred pretty much every year in Florida for a long time. However, this year it has lasted longer and has settled where the gentle sea cows have migrated. It’s hard seeing so many of them that did not make it due to this natural phenomenon.
Manatees are under the endangered list so the fight to save them from this hidden threat in the warm Floridian waters is desperately underway. Wildlife officials have so far rescued 12 manatees that were showing signs of being affected by the red tide and hopefully that number will increase before it’s too late. These innocent lives depend on human efforts to save them and it sounds like the rescuers are trying to do just that. The good news is that the ones they have pulled out so far that are still alive have been saved by their heroic efforts.