The video accompanying the article is good at giving a synopsis of the issues discussed. The article is about the deadly algae, red tide, that is infesting manatee winter migration waters. The red tide algae contains a toxin that arrests manatee respiratory function and paralyzes them. The manatees could drown in 2 inches of water. At the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, eleven wild manatees are temporarily being housed and cared for by staff. The sick manatees receive 24-hour care by staff members, who take turns holding the manatees’ heads out of the water so they can breathe. The increase in red tide algae is thought to be because of the warmer temperatures due to global warming. Manatees are endangered species and in just the past two and a half months 149 have been killed due to the red tide algae. The record for manatee deaths in a year is 151, so the red tide algae is killing manatees at a catastrophic level.
I can’t believe how quickly the red tide is impacting the animals. The problem is exacerbated by the fact manatees congregate in certain areas during the winter months because of warmer waters. Concentrated groups of manatees combined with increased levels of red tide is not going to end well. I don’t know if there is any other action plan in place other than try to rehabilitate the manatees and wait for the red tide season to pass. I have a feeling that red tide studies will be taken a lot more seriously now! Hopefully, researchers find a quick and efficient way to deal with the red tide issue or neutralize the toxin.