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FWC Rescues Manatee Poisoned By Red Tide On Sanibel Island

State wildlife biologists rescued a manatee in Southwest Florida waters Wednesday for symptoms resulting from a toxic red tide algal bloom. This seems to be a trend.

At a boat ramp just off the Sanibel Causeway, a roughly eight-foot adult manatee was breathing heavily on a trailer. Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissionbiologist Dan Levine said someone sent photos and video of the sick manatee to the FWC. He said it has symptoms of red tide. The manatee did not even react when he touched it. 

"It had some small seizures and showed some trouble breathing so we removed it to help ease some of the toxin," said Levine. 

The FWC is transporting the manatee to the Miami Seaquarium for rehabilitation. Levine said they’re starting to see more signs of red tide in marine animals here. This is the second manatee with symptoms rescued by state wildlife officials just this week.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sent out its most recent red tide report last week showing high concentrations of the toxic bloom in the bay regions of Lee County. Dead fish and people complaining of respiratory irritation were also reported in Lee—all indicators of red tide. NOAA predicted this past weekend’s winds would intensify the bloom along the county’s coast. 

Below is NOAA's full report:

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Jessica Meszaros / WGCU News

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of All Things Consideredfor WGCU News.