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Brevard County Leads Florida In Manatee Deaths

Chris Muenzer/Flickr
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

More manatees continue to die in Brevard County than anywhere else in Florida.

New numbers show nearly 100 manatees died in Brevard County in 2015, accounting for a quarter of the deaths statewide during the year.

A third of the deaths were unexplained. Katie Tripp of the Save the Manatee Club says they are believed to be related to dietary changes among manatees in the Indian River Lagoon.

“The manatees were not starving,” Tripp said. “They looked otherwise healthy. It's just that what they found to eat proved to be fatal to them.”

She says as ongoing algal blooms have killed off the lagoon's seagrass manatees have turned to eating macroalgae that in some cases has been toxic for them.

New deaths this summer are believed to be part of an ongoing unexplained die-off dating back years. A record 244 manatee deaths were reported in Brevard County in 2013.