CAPE CORAL (AP) - Seven manatees rescued during a red tide bloom in southwest Florida have been released back into the wild.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and partners released the rehabilitated manatees on Tuesday in Cape Coral.
Authorities say more than a dozen manatees were rescued from the red tide bloom between last September and this April. All but one survived after they were initially taken to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo for treatment. Two rehabilitated manatees were released in June, and more releases are scheduled later this month.
FWC reports that red tide is the primary cause of death for nearly 300 manatees so far this year. Manatees are exposed to toxins in the bloom that settled onto the sea grass that manatee eat, causing them to become paralyzed and eventually drown.