Manatee rescued from red tide being treated at ZooTampa

It’s been a record year for manatee deaths in Florida, and the red tide appears to be making matters worse for the mammal.

TAMPA, Florida— Editor’s note: The video in the player above shows the state of manatee mortality in early July.

The red tide has wreaked havoc on Tampa Bay area waterways over the past month, affecting marine life both large and small.

ZooTampa said Monday it was able to save a Florida manatee from harmful algae blooms and was giving it the “life-saving care” it needed.

The manatee was found near Sarasota by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the zoo said. This is the 23rd manatee treated this year at the David A. Straz, Jr. Critical Care Center.

Medical health professionals will monitor the manatee for 24 hours with assisted breathing. Red tide, also known as Karenia Brevis, is a neurotoxin that affects the nervous system. When eaten by manatees, seaweed can cause convulsions and paralysis that can lead to drowning.

It’s been a record year for manatee deaths in Florida, and the red tide appears to be making matters worse for sea cows.

As of July 23, 881 manatees have been reported dead in Florida. This number is higher than the combined totals for 2020 and 2019 and higher than each of the past six years.

On Monday, Pinellas County workers removed 1,751 tons of dead marine life caused by the red tide. It’s over 3.5 million pounds.

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