“They listened to anti-manatee groups and prematurely took manatees off the endangered species list.” From the beginning of the year through May 21, 2021, 749 manatee deaths were recorded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In 2018, a record-high of 804 manatee deaths were reported, with 2021 on track to surpass that. Conservationists have pointed to the mass loss of seagrass, a main food source for manatees, leading to their starvation. The dying off of seagrass has been linked to recurring blue-green algal blooms and red tides, which remove nutrients seagrass needs to grow and poison the waters.
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