Record number of manatee deaths caused by red tide

Published On: Mar 09 2013 11:50:51 AM EST
Manatee deaths decline in Florida

Only 28 manatees died statewide of stress from the cold in 2012. As many as 282 manatees died that way throughout Florida in 2010 and 114 in 2011.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -

A deadly algae bloom is causing a record number of manatee deaths in Florida.

That's according to a Tampa Bay Times report that says red tide has been killing ten or more manatees a day.

On Friday the number reached 149 so far this year. By the end of the weekend, that number could pass the record set in 1996 at 151 deaths.

Biologists say it's unclear if the algae bloom will let up any time soon.

Nearly a dozen manatees have been rescued and are being treated at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

Red tide turns the water into a rust color, releasing large amounts of toxins. The current bloom affects 70 miles of the southwest Florida coast, from Sarasota through the middle of Lee County.

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