Saturday, December 29, 2007

Red Tide kills five manatees

There a reports from both Central Florida's News Thirteen and Florida Today are reporting on a number of manatee deaths that are suspected to have been caused by red tide blooms. Manatees die from red tide because the algae toxin concentrates in the seagrass they eat and they breathe the poison at the water's surface. A marine mammal biologist with the Florida Fish & Wildlife commission is quoted in the Florida Today story as follows: "They actually asphyxiate. . . . The animal suffocates. . . . In my mind it's just a horrible way to die." The story also provides contact information for manatee rescue:
If you see a sick manatee . . .
Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission wildlife rescue hotline at 888-404-3922 to alert biologists of sick manatees if you notice the animal's face and lips twitching with tremors and the animal struggling to stay at the surface.

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