In first 8 months of year, manatee death toll surpasses 2017

Manatee Deaths Florida_1534800197897

FILE- This Dec. 28, 2010 photos shows a group of manatees in a canal where discharge from a nearby Florida Power & Light plant warms the water in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Florida wildlife officials say 538 manatees were found dead in the state’s waterways in 2017. That’s the third-highest annual death toll on record for […]

It hasn’t been a good year for manatees in Florida.

According to state wildlife statistics, there have been more manatee deaths so far this year than all of last year.

A total of 540 manatees have died through Aug. 12, compared to 538 in 2017. Experts blame a cold snap at the beginning of the year and the toxic red tide algae in the Gulf of Mexico for the fatalities.

Statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say that red tide is to blame for 97 manatee deaths.

Experts say it’s likely that 2018 will rival 2013, when 723 manatees died.

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