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Brevard County Leads Florida In Manatee Deaths

Credit: David Hinkle  USFWS
Credit: David Hinkle USFWS

More manatees continue to die in Brevard County than anywhere else in Florida.

New numbers show nearly 100 manatees died in Brevard County in 2015, accounting for a quarter of the deaths statewide during the year.

A third of the deaths were unexplained. Katie Tripp of the Save the Manatee Club says they are believed to be related to dietary changes among manatees in the Indian River Lagoon.

"The manatees were not starving. They looked otherwise healthy. It's just that what they found to eat proved to be fatal to them."

She says as ongoing algal blooms have killed off the lagoon's seagrass manatees have turned to eating macroalgae that in some cases has been toxic for them.

New deaths this summer are believed to be part of an ongoing unexplained die-off dating back years. A record 244 manatee deaths were reported in Brevard County in 2013.


Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.
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