As of the end of May, 749 sea cows have been killed in Florida since the beginning of the year. This is already more than the number of these large marine animals killed in the whole of last year, and the Department of Wildlife believes that this year will be significantly exceeded the record of 2018 – 804.
Considering that, according to experts, only about 7,500 sea cows survived in the state, this development of events is alarming for ecologists. The main reason for the death of sea cows is considered to be pollution of sea waters. In particular, runoff from fertilizers, toxic chemicals and microplastics leads to algae blooms, consisting of the simplest microorganisms that destroy seagrass – the main food of sea cows.
This phenomenon is especially evident in the lagoon of the Indyen River – an inland estuary, often visited by sea cows, where almost half of the sea grass has disappeared since 2009. The lack of sea grass, experts say, could mean that sea cows are simply starving to death. Environmentalists have accused former state governor (and current senator) Rick Scott of loosening environmental restrictions. Two Florida members of the House of Representatives – Republican Brian Mast and Democrat Stephanie Murphy – have introduced legislation to Congress to increase federal funds to protect sea cows.
Victims of pollution