Seven red tide manatees rehabilitated and released in Cape Coral

Red tide is primary cause of death among manatees this year, FWC says

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Seven manatees were released Tuesday after being rehabilitated for red tide exposure.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Seven manatees were rehabilitated and released on Tuesday in Cape Coral after a red tide bloom sickened the manatees.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and partners took in 16 manatees during the red tide bloom in southwest Florida. Of the 16 manatees, 15 survived.

The red tide bloom, which occurred from September to April, has had major effects on wildlife. Most of the animals become sick from ingesting foods with high levels of the red tide toxin.

This year, the red tide is the primary cause of death among manatees. According to the FWC, 272 manatees have died in 2013, which is an all-time record.

"We are very pleased that so many of the manatees we rescued from the effects of red tide have recovered to reach this point," said Andy Garrett, an FWC biologist and Florida's manatee rescue coordinator. "Our staff and partners worked very hard during the red tide to get to distressed manatees in time."

Some of the other manatees that were rescued and rehabilitated were released in June.

The public is asked to report distressed or dead manatees by calling the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922)

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