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Specialists examine a dead manatee in Tabasco. Specialists examine a dead manatee in Tabasco.

Dead manatees now up to 20 in Tabasco, and remain a mystery

Testing has been hindered by the advanced decomposition of the bodies

Over the last month and a half the number of manatees found dead in Tabasco has leapt from eight to 20, and authorities have yet to find an explanation for the deaths.

The director of wildlife inspection and surveillance at the federal environmental agency Profepa told a press conference yesterday that only one of the bodes was found in good enough condition to collect usable samples.

They tested positive for brucellosis and Weil’s disease but Joel González Moreno explained that those bacteria are found naturally in the environment, and it cannot be concluded that they caused the deaths of the other manatees.

Seventeen of the mammals were found in the Bitzalez lagoon system. Three more were located in Boca de Pantoja, while two were found in Paraíso and at the Grijalva II bridge in Villahermosa.

The advanced state of decomposition has hindered the search for an answer, continued González, and conclusive results are still out of reach.

Still, the Profepa representative asserted that a hydrocarbon spill has been discarded as a cause of death, suggesting instead that an illness could be behind the deaths.

Several agencies, including the National Water Commission, are collaborating and collecting samples from the dead animals and the waters in which they were found to determine the cause of death.

Sample collection has also extended to fish species and farm animals found in the Bitzales area, which are currently being analyzed at Senasica, the National Service for Agrofood Health, Safety and Quality.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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