08/09/18 Washington Post
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As many as 50 manatees have died, floating to the surface of rivers and lagoons in Mexico’s southern state of Tabasco, where some of the country’s major oil wells have been operating for decades. Fish, reptiles, birds and other marine animals have also died suddenly, and scientists are scrambling to figure out the cause.
“It could be one of the greatest environmental emergencies we have had in recent times,” Ernesto Zazueta, president of the Association of Zoos, Breeders and Aquariums of Mexico (AZCARM), told the El Universal newspaper.
On May 18, residents of the municipality of Bitzales found a lifeless manatee floating in the water. They assumed it was an isolated incident, or that the animal had been sick. But in the weeks the followed, more and more dead manatees were found in the state’s waterways. Fishermen reported that suddenly they weren’t catching anything, and dead fish also began floating to the surface.