The bloom of toxic red algae has killed 241 of Florida's endangered manatees, The Columbus Dispatch said.
The death toll this year already exceeds the previous annual record of 151, The New York Times said. The number of deaths is expected to rise because the deadly toxins from the algae has already contaminated the sea grass that the manatees eat, The Columbus Dispatch said.
The Red Tide algae appeared last year on Florida's west coast, the home to an estimated 5,000 manatees, The Columbus Dispatch said.
The toxins are usually inhaled by the manatees when they come up for air, which can lead to seizures or paralysis, causing them to drown, The Columbus Dispatch said.
Sometimes the algae can grow out of control causing the water to to red and producing a large amount of toxins, The Columbus Dispatch said. Even residents and tourists can have respiratory problems if they breath the toxins in after being on beaches near red tide algae, The New York Times said.