Florida Manatees Are Dying of Starvation
More than 700 manatees have died in the first 5 months of 2021, already passing the 637 deaths in all of 2020. There are roughly 6,000 manatees in Florida.
Manatees are dying of starvation as large areas of seagrass, their preferred food, are disappearing. Runoff of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from farming and wastewater either kills the seagrass outright or causes algae and phytoplankton blooms that block sunlight from reaching the water.
Activists are calling for the manatee to be re-added to the endangered species list (which it was removed from in 2019), while members of Congress are proposing legislation to increase federal funding for manatee protection.