Dead manatee washes ashore in Bradenton. FWC investigates possible link to red tide

A dead manatee washed up near the Bradenton shore Sunday.
A dead manatee washed up near the Bradenton shore Sunday.

A dead manatee washed up near the Bradenton shore on Sunday.

Trailer Estates resident John Williams made a sad discovery while out walking his dog.

“I saw a little manatee pushing a big object,” he said. “I looked a little closer and it was another manatee just floating on top of the water.”

An ongoing red tide is killing wildlife throughout Florida’s southwest coast and has left beaches littered with dead fish, sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark. Additional footage courtesy of Southwest Florida TV via Facebook.

Williams called the authorities hoping for the best, but the adult manatee was already dead.

A crew from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to the scene. They pulled the sea cow through part of Sarasota Bay and into a boat dock less than half a mile away from where it was discovered.

The manatee will likely be transported to FWC’s facility in St. Petersburg so researchers can determine if the cause of death is linked to the red tide bloom.

So far this year, FWC believes 115 of the more than 500 manatee deaths across the state are linked to red tide.

Please call FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 if you see sick, stranded, distressed or dead manatees or other marine mammals.

Capt. Chad Huff found an 80- to 100-pound tarpon floating dead in August near Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, where some of the worst fish kills have occurred since a red tide appeared off Southwest Florida in October 2017.