Here’s a sobering story from The Guardian about the rising death of manatees in Florida, up by as much as 20 per cent this spring – and rising:
The apparent environmental upside of Covid-19, such as lower pollution and emissions, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Just ask manatee conservationists in Florida.
Keeping this threatened species safe has increasingly been an uphill battle – especially since manatees were controversially downgraded from “endangered” in 2017. But conservationists are facing unexpected challenges in the face of coronavirus. So far, the pandemic has led to more unsafe boating activity, delays to environmental project launches and even changes in public policy – none of which favor these gentle giants.
“There are several troubling factors coming together during the pandemic,” said Patrick Rose, an aquatic biologist and executive director of the nonprofit Save the Manatee Club. “Manatees were already facing accelerated habitat loss, rising fatalities from boat collisions and less regulatory protection. With Covid, we’re seeing manatees at an increased risk, both from policies that undermine environmental standards and from irresponsible outdoor activity, such as boaters ignoring slow-speed zones.”