Manatees Being Killed at Record Pace
So far this year, 769 manatees have died (Jan. 1 through Oct. 29), the largest annual manatee die-off in Florida since record-keeping began, according to the Save the Manatee Club.
“That means more than 15 percent of the estimated population of about 5,000 has already been killed, and as the year goes on the total will continue to climb,” environmental reporter Craig Pittman wrote in the Tampa Bay Times.
This year, the biggest manatee die-offs on Florida’s east and west coasts are linked to algae outbreaks, which are worsened by sewage, manure and fertilizer runoff—the subject of our continuing legal fight against polluters.
Florida regulators are doing the bidding of polluter-lobbyists, and environmental disasters like the record manatee deaths are the sad result. Instead of stepping in to enforce the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has backed off.
On Florida’s east coast, in the amazingly bio-diverse Indian River Lagoon east of Orlando, pollution-fueled algae outbreaks kept breaking out and then hundreds of dead fish, dolphins, and pelicans began turning up, along with more than 100 dead manatees.
The Indian River Lagoon has lost 47,000 acres of sea grass since 2010, which, as the Tampa Bay Times noted, “one scientist compared to losing an entire rainforest in one fell swoop.”