Thus far in 2018, the number of manatee that have died this calendar year has surpassed 2017 and we still have 1/4 of the year to go.
According to state wildlife statistics, a total of 540 manatees have died through August 12 of this year compared to 538 in 2017.
Experts believe the deaths are contributed to a combination of a cold snap at the beginning of the year and the toxic red tide algae in the Gulf of Mexico that have resulted in thousands of marine deaths this year.
The organism that causes red tide in southwest Florida occurs naturally, but due to known and fixable problems with water table drainage and more increased land usage for farming and development are the blooms are lasting longer.
Currently, officials have no timetable for the ending of this seasons red tide and they warn beachgoers to report anything that looks out place and to call officials with any animal deaths or strandings.