FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The death of two manatees remained a mystery Wednesday. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists were performing necropsies at a research center in Tequesta.
Liz Barraco, a spokeswoman for FWC, said both of the dead manatees were found in Fort Lauderdale. And it took hours to find one of them, after they got the report Tuesday night, she said.
Biologists pulled out the decomposing body of a female manatee Wednesday morning. And with the help of a fisherman, they pulled the other manatee across a canal Wednesday afternoon. And they loaded it the carcass into a pickup truck.
"It's a shame. Just a shame," Drew Cooney said, after finding the dead manatee near an FPL cooling pond.
It was floating off New River near the inland Florida Power & Light site, Barraco said. FWC biologists also said that about 300 manatees swim back into the FPL cooling ponds this time of year.
Manatees head for warm waters near power plant discharge when it gets too cold, marine biologists determined in 2005. They can't survive in water that is below 68 degrees.
Manatees remain an endangered species and are protected by the federal government.
While bottlenose dolphins began to die from measles in 2013, a record number of manatees were also dying in Florida waters. FWC biologists blamed about 803 deaths on a toxic algae bloom.
Beach goers in Sunny Isles Beach spotted a sick bottlenose dolphin Feb. 3rd. Three people held the dolphin, as it died in the water. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration biologists said the dolphin likely died of measles. An outbreak has been killing hundreds of dolphins on the Atlantic Coast.
Some in the scientific community are not discounting the possibility that global warming or pollution -- such as petroleum hydrocarbon exposure -- may be the underlying causes making manatees and dolphins more susceptible to death in the past few years.
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