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FWC: Manatee deaths are up this year, but scientists don't know why

Manatee deaths are up. However, the pandemic limited necropsies that would have helped identify the reason.

Florida is seeing an increase in the average number of manatee deaths this year.

The problem? Scientists can't figure out the cause of some because necropsies were suspended during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. They were halted in April and May to keep animal experts socially distanced.

RELATED: Orphaned manatee calf getting back to good health at ZooTampa

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in about a third of the 388 deaths, the bodies of the manatees were verified but not recovered.

As spokeswoman Michelle Kerr told the Tampa Bay Times, “it takes several staff together to pick up a manatee carcass.”

RELATED: Good news: Gulf of Mexico's 'dead zone' much smaller this year

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