Florida is experiencing a massive die-off of its manatee population. As 959 deaths have been recorded since October the 1st and more deaths are expected as cold weather hits.

The manatee population deaths doubled this year and with startling speed causing animal officials to grow concerned about the population numbers.

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The reason behind these manatee deaths can be traced back to the seagrass, which is also dying. Seagrass is the manatee’s main source of food, and the lack thereof is causing them to starve.

The seagrass is dying out because of the massive amounts of pollution that have run off into the Florida coastline. These pollutants can cause algae blooms that are so thick that they keep the sun from reaching the seagrass. Causing it to die and wither away.

J.P. Brooker, Florida director for the Ocean Conservancy environmental group, said, “The cold hard fact is: Florida is at a water quality and climate crossroads, and manatees are our canary in the coal mine. They are dying off in record numbers because we humans have made Florida waters inhospitable to them,” Brooker said. “It’s not just our manatees at risk it’s a coast-wide ecological problem.”

Florida has funded a seagrass restoration program, but it takes time, and the manatees might starve before then. This is why supplemental feeding is being considered to keep the manatee population alive until the seagrass can be restored.

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This is just one example of manmade pollution endangering wildlife and threatening an entire species.

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