SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Three manatees have now been found dead in Sarasota County in the last week alone as red tide lingers in the Gulf.
It started with turtles, and now scientists believe the red tide could now also be killing manatees, which are on the threatened species list.
Mote Marine Laboratory is helping FWC recover dead manatees from the waters. The most recent manatee was brought to shore Tuesday in Nokomis. Another young manatee was found dead in Venice Monday. The third was found on Turtle Beach on Saturday.
Mote Marine Laboratory is struggling to keep up with the calls that keep coming in.
Scientists are getting a lot of calls from the community thinking a manatee is in distress, when it really isn't. They're asking the community to look for manatees that are comatose with fits of seizures, doing repeated barrel roles.
Mote's stranding investigations program manager Gretchen Lovewell says it'll appear that the manatees intoxicated in the waters if they're suffering from red tide.
"We have a lot of mating herds happening right now," Lovewell said Tuesday. "That is usually a single female being pursued by multiple males. The females are huge. They're much larger than the males. So a lot of these calls are getting reported as a mom getting pushed around by her babies."
If you see any animal in distress, call FWC at 888-404-FWCC (3922).