Struggling to survive
This year has been a disastrous one so far
for manatees in the Indian River Lagoon.
Scientists and experts are saying the coming
winter could be as bad or worse. And there are no
quick or easy solutions to end the deaths.
Brevard County has experienced the most deaths
with 316 manatee dying in the first seven months.
Martin County has reported 35 deaths; Indian
River County, 23; and St. Lucie County, 14. This
means nearly 400 have died in just four counties.
Statewide, the death toll was 890 between January
“Unprecedented,” says Martine deWit, the chief
biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission. “There were so many
deaths we couldn’t do necropsies on all of them.”
24: SPACE COAST LIVING | SPACECOASTLIVING.COM
By Fred Mays
Turkey buzzards scavenge
carcasses of dead manatees in
the Indian River Lagoon. Many
of them are starving to death
because of the lack of seagrass.
Manatees starving to death in unprecedented numbers
PHIL STASIK PHOTOS
Manatee carcasses litter a spoil island in Indian River Lagoon. Brevard County has reported
more than 300 manatee deaths in the first seven months of the year.