TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Manatees are starving to death because algae blooms and contaminants are killing the seagrass the beloved sea mammals eat.
A state wildlife official detailed the problem for a Florida House committee on Tuesday. Algae and pollutants in the Indian River Lagoon have decimated seagrass. The aquatic plant thrives in clear, sandy water, but murkier water has made it harder for seagrass to survive.
Melissa Tucker of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said 968 manatees have died this year. The previous annual high was 830 deaths in 2013.