Mar 12, 2021 - News
Shocking number of manatee deaths in Florida sparks concern
A manatee comes to the surface for air in Homosassa Spring. Photo: Frogfish Photography/Barcroft via Getty Images

At least 432 Florida manatees have already died in 2021, well over double the state’s 5-year average for the same time period, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

By the numbers: There were 403 manatee deaths from January 1 to February 26, an increase of over 260 deaths compared to the same time period last year.

The reason: The sea cows are starving to death.

  • A severe die-off centers on the northern Indian River Lagoon on Florida’s East Coast, the Times' Zachary T. Sampson reports. Experts say losses of sea grass due to persistent algae blooms have left them without food.

What's next: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D) is urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the event as a Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event, which would allow for additional resources to investigate the causes behind the deaths. 

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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