Coronavirus: How COVID-19 threatens Florida manatees

Florida manatees remain in troubled waters because of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the environmental benefits and lower pollution may not be helping the gentle species, according to The Guardian.

  • According to The Guardian, “the pandemic has led to more unsafe boating activity, delays to environmental project launches and even changes in public policy — none of which favor these gentle giants.”
  • Patrick Rose, an aquatic biologist and executive director of the nonprofit Save the Manatee Club, told The Guardian:

“Manatees were already facing accelerated habitat loss, rising fatalities from boat collisions and less regulatory protection. With Covid, we’re seeing manatees at an increased risk, both from policies that undermine environmental standards and from irresponsible outdoor activity, such as boaters ignoring slow-speed zones.”

The bigger picture:

  • Deaths of at-risk manatees climbed by about 20% from April through May compared to 2019. In fact, June is already beating a five-year average, according to Florida Fish and Wildflife.
  • The causes have not been decided, according to Rose.
  • Rose said: “We suspect there were many more manatees killed by boating than we could determine.”

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