It's official: Red Tide has killed a record number of manatees in Florida this year.
Preliminary results indicate that 174 manatees have died in 2013 because of Red Tide, the highest number of red-tide-related deaths in one calendar year on record, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
State and federal scientists are monitoring and responding to manatees affected by the ongoing red tide bloom along the southwest Florida coast. To help with these efforts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida FWC are asking the public to be on the lookout for manatees affected by Red Tide. Signs that a manatee is affected include a lack of coordination and stability in the water, muscle twitches or seizures and difficulty lifting its head to breathe. The FWC and partners have rescued 12 manatees suffering from the effects of Red Tide so far this year. Officials are asking the public to report distressed manatees to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).