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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Toxic Red Tide in Florida Kills Manatees Along Gulf Coast

 Red tide covers roughly 70 miles from Sarasota south to Pine Island Sound

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According to a story in the Miami Herald "Toxic red tide has killed a record number of endangered manatees along the Southwest Florida coast. With no sign of when the deadly algae bloom might abate, the preliminary death toll of 174 is likely to continue rising, state and federal wildlife managers said Monday. The number already has topped a previous red tide high of 151 in 1996. “It’s really hard to make any kind of prediction on it,’’ said Kevin Baxter, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. . . . This red tide covers roughly 70 miles from Sarasota south to Pine Island Sound, where the majority of deaths have been recorded in warm waters where the sea cows congregate during the winter. Sampling has found the algae, which also has triggered sporadic fish kills, as far south as Collier County at times. . . Once afflicted, they (manatees) lose coordination and the ability to swim upright or lift their heads out of the water to breathe. If reached early, stricken manatees can be saved, Baxter said. A dozen have been rescued so far, transported to area zoos where workers hold their heads above water until the effects fade. The FWC asks anyone in the impact area to report struggling or dead manatees to the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922)." Read more here:

According to Wikipedia: "Red tide is also potentially harmful to human health. Humans can become seriously ill from eating oysters and other shellfish contaminated with red tide toxin."

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