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Florida manatee population plunges as pollution kills off sea grass they depend on

More than 10 percent of Florida’s estimated manatee population has died since the start of the year, already surpassing the total number of manatee deaths in 2020, according to state wildlife officials.

A recent report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found there were at least 761 manatee deaths from Jan. 1 to May 28, compared with 637 all last year. At this rate, the 2021 total is well on its way to surpassing the highest year-end total in at least the last five years, when the commission recorded 824 deaths in 2018.

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