Florida’s manatee deaths highest since 2013

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A photo of a dead baby manatee posted on Facebook by the Cape Coral Sail and Power Squadron Fishing Group continues to worry scientists.  The blue-green algae and red tide have continued to affect southwest Florida also including environmental disasters of turtle and fish deaths.

The two-year-old calf, found floating at the dock, was removed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife on Sunday. A necropsy performed by FWC’s Marine Mammal Pathology lab on Monday ruled the death of the calf as “natural.”

“The animal had a severe infection of parasites in its gut and we see these kinds of infections around this age,” veterinarian Martine de Wit stated. “We don’t know where the parasites come from. It could be transmitted by the environment by little snails that get on the vegetation that the manatees eat.”

The consequences of the red tide killing the manatees, turtles and other sea life can not however be dismissed. According to the Palm Beach Post, the blue-green algae concern in the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie Estuary and the red algae known as red tide could also be a factor; the red tide follows after Lake Okeechobee waters are released. It is expected toxicity test results should be available within a month. The difference is that red tide is a natural phenomenon, blue-green algae is the result is man’s manipulation of nature. Dead and sick turtles have been washing up is double the five-year average. On Sanibel Island, 4,000 dead fish have been found at the shores of the beaches and parks.

There have been 484 manatee deaths in Florida recorded since July 20. Factoring in deaths caused by boats, human interference and natural related deaths (red-tide related deaths are counted as natural), the numbers are still above the baseline.

Check out one of the videos posted by Chris Oneill.


The National Weather Service has issued beach hazards statements which have since been lifted. Still, the ocean life continues to die.

(Photos via Facebook Erin Brockovich)

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  1. This is beyond tragic! Please help by spreading the word and/or by joining dedicated organizations such as the Save the Manatee Club!

  2. These are animals that do not bother anyone and need our help. Groups that work for these animals need our support so they can do their job and hopefully resolve these deaths. They happen, but this is much more than normal or expected.


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