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Manatee deaths on the rise in 2018

Posted at 7:41 AM, Aug 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-21 07:41:32-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- It hasn't been a good year for manatees in Florida.  There have been more manatee deaths so far this year than all of last year.

According to the latest numbers from Florida Fish and Wildlife, 540 manatees have died through August 12 this year.  That's compared to 538 deaths in all of 2017.

Experts blame a cold snap at the beginning of the year, and the toxic red tide algae this summer.

FWC says that red tide is to blame for 97 manatee deaths.

Experts say it's likely that 2018 will rival 2013, when 723 manatees died.