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Thu May 13, 2021, 09:21 AM

Indian River Estuary Becoming "Manatee Graveyard" - 432 Deaths Statewide, 164 Dead In Brevard County

Video at link.

First, you smell the foul odor, then you see the shocking images of skulls, bones, and rotting carcasses. These former shells of life are spread across a handful of islands near Manatee Cove Park, serving as graveyards for Florida's manatees. "I would say it is a manatee boneyard. We didnít even have the time or the respect to bury them. We have just left them out in the open here to decompose," said Katrina Shadix, the executive director of an environmental conservation nonprofit.

Kayaking across the Indian River Lagoon, you can find where crews who find dead manatees take them to decompose. These graphic scenes, tucked away on a remote island, puts the issue into perspective. Biologists say a lot of it is our fault. Environmentalists believe these manatees starved to death.

Shadix says sewage and fertilizer runoff kill seagrass, an important food source for Florida's manatees. "So we are putting chemicals into our waterways along with sewage treatment being inferior. We also have boat strikes but that is not the case this year. Itís the starvation and itís the death of the ecosystem, not being able to provide the food for the manatees and all the other sea life," Shadix said.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), from January 1 to March 5, the entire state recorded 432 manatee deaths. Brevard County is at the center of the manatee crisis, with 164 deaths.



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