Manatees are dying again in polluted Indian River Lagoon

Manatees are dying again in polluted Indian River Lagoon

Manatees have started dying once again in Florida. State officials said that between 2012 and 2015, about 158 manatees died in the state’s Indian River Lagoon, once called the America’s most diverse ecosystem. Along with them, pelicans and dolphins also lost their lives by the score in the contaminated lagoon.

Last summer, the manatee die-off sputtered out, but as per St. Petersburg's Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, now, it has started anew. Since May this year, they have found nine new victims. The latest one was spotted on July 4. All of them belonged to Melbourne area.

As manatees are an endangered species, every time one is found dead in Florida, it's taken to the FWRI's laboratory to find out its cause of death, and Dr. Martine de Wit conducts all the examinations.

On Wednesday, she said that the deaths don’t seem to be linked to the toxic blue-green algae bloom creating problems in the state's Atlantic coast and Lake Okeechobee. She said that until now, no manatees’ deaths have ever been linked to algae species, though the state is constantly monitoring it.

But she mentioned that the present wave of manatee deaths could be indirectly linked to two other, distinct algae blooms, probably fed by the lagoon pollution.

Previously, the Indian River Lagoon has had experienced algae blooms but none of them were like the one that hit in 2011. Experts dubbed the explosion of the greenish Resultor species a ‘superbloom’ because it was spread over around 131,000 acres and stayed there from early spring to the end of the fall.

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