Record Number of Manatees Have Died in Florida This Year

A record number of manatees have died this year in the US state of Florida, primarily from starvation, wildlife authorities say.

At least 841 of the marine mammals died in waters near the eastern state between 1 January and 2 July.

That breaks the previous record set in 2013, when 830 manatees died after exposure to harmful algae.

This year biologists say seagrass beds manatees rely on for food are dying out because of rising water pollution.

They say the main issue is the increasing waste contamination of Florida’s waterways, which triggers the accumulation of algae and the loss of seagrass.

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said most of the deaths had happened during the colder months, when manatees migrated to the Indian River Lagoon, where most seagrass had died.

As temperatures warmed and the animals dispersed along the Atlantic coast, boat strikes became a leading cause of death last month, official data show.

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SOURCE: BBC News

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