Our favorite Floridian sea mammal the Manatee is having a hard time! Over the past years its food has been in a major decline due to algae blooms. The most notable cases are located in an estuary called Indian River Lagoon.
Algae blooms can occur naturally and usually mother nature has always managed to keep a balance but now Floridas coastline is out of balance and humans have become the main contributor to these blooms. How do these blooms occur? Their favorite food is phosphorus and nitrogen, this can be found in dead things, like plants, fertilizers, storm runoff, sceptic waste, just to name a few. The access of these nutrient rich foods feeds the algae, as the algae grows it cuts off oxygen and light to plants and other living creatures causing them to die. And the cycle continues! The lack of light has caused the sea grasses in the Indian River Lagoon to die-off. And now the Manatee have nothing to eat. Over 750 Manatees have starved to death.
The good news is there are people out there who are trying to help. Septic tanks are getting phased out and programs are being implemented to restore the seagrass to the estuary. Even, SeaWorld in Orlando Florida have been rehabilitating starving manatees and returning them to the wild. It takes a team! And many years to return the estuary to its once crystal clear waters, but they are doing it! To learn more please read HERE.