Record number of manatee deaths reported in 2013

In this March 18, 2013, photo provided by the South Florida Museum, Snooty the manatee swims in her tank at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, Fla. Snooty, born in captivity in Miami and the oldest manatee in captivity, will turn 65 on July 21, 2013. (AP Photo/South Florida Museum)

In this March 18, 2013, photo provided by the South Florida Museum, Snooty the manatee swims in her tank at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, Fla. Snooty, born in captivity in Miami and the oldest manatee in captivity, will turn 65 on July 21, 2013. (AP Photo/South Florida Museum)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The number of manatee deaths has topped 800 for the first time since such record-keeping began in the 1970s, state wildlife officials said.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, 803 manatee deaths have been recorded this year. That's about 16 percent of the state's estimated population of 5,000 manatees.

Martine DeWit of the institute's Marine Mammal Pathology Laboratory tells the Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/1hqhttj) that 173 of the dead were breeding-age females. It's unclear what effect these deaths will have on the endangered species' population.

Last year, 392 manatee deaths were recorded, which officials consider normal.

The previous record for manatee deaths was 766, set in 2010 after a lengthy cold snap. That cold snap mostly affected younger manatees that had not yet reached breeding age, DeWit said.

Scientists blame a massive bloom of red tide algae along southwest Florida's coastline and a mysterious ailment affecting manatees in the Indian River Lagoon for this year's deaths.

Scores of dolphins and pelicans also have died in the Indian River Lagoon this year, but it's not known whether all the animals' deaths are related. They may be the result of pollution-fueled algae blooms that have wiped out some 47,000 acres of sea grass in the 156-mile-long lagoon along Florida's Atlantic Coast.

There was one highlight among the manatee death reports, officials said. This year, 71 manatees were killed by boat, down from 81 last year and well shy of the record 95 recorded in 2002.

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Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

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Comments » 3

MIOCENE1 writes:

Scientists ponder whether we are in the midst of the "sixth extinction"; where most of the life on Earth disappeared five times over geologic history.

The last extinction was about 65 M.Y.A. at the end of the Mesozoic Era.

If we ARE in the sixth extinction; it should take place over a period of 300 years; this one brought about by environmental changes caused by humans.

MIOCENE (PAREIDOLIA)

RayPray writes:

in response to MIOCENE1:

Scientists ponder whether we are in the midst of the "sixth extinction"; where most of the life on Earth disappeared five times over geologic history.

The last extinction was about 65 M.Y.A. at the end of the Mesozoic Era.

If we ARE in the sixth extinction; it should take place over a period of 300 years; this one brought about by environmental changes caused by humans.

MIOCENE (PAREIDOLIA)

"Scientists ponder whether we are in the midst of the "sixth extinction"...."

>>> Exactly what reputable scientists are pondering this?

"The last extinction was about 65 M.Y.A. at the end of the Mesozoic Era."

>>> Quite a few Marco residents, especially in the Yacht Club, remember this, having lost their pet dyno from this nasty comet collision....

"If we ARE in the sixth extinction...brought about by environmental changes caused by humans."

>>> I would blame this entirely on the adoption of skimpy Lululemon tights by too many females in the Island Yoga community....

Konfuzius writes:

The bottom line: To many uneducated boaters in our waters. Idle speed all over inland water ways is the solution.

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