Updated:BRADENTON, Fla. —
A manatee conservation group says that with two months to go in the year, 2013 already is the deadliest year on record for manatees in Florida.
Officials from Save the Manatee Club say 769 manatees have died so far in 2013, surpassing the mark of 766 set in 2010 when hundreds died from cold stress. The total this year is almost twice the 392 that died in 2012, according to the conservation group.
The Bradenton Herald reports that this year's spike is due in part to 276 manatees that died after exposure to a toxic red tide bloom in southwest Florida, centered in Lee County, and the death of more than 100 in Brevard County on Florida's east coast.