Rescued Florida Keys sawfish dies post aquarium care

Rescued Florida Keys sawfish dies post aquarium care

An endangered smalltooth sawfish, part of an abnormal fish die-off event in the Florida Keys, has died after efforts to rehabilitate it at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota. The 11-foot sawfish was found in distress, swimming in circles off Cudjoe Key, and exhibited signs of an unknown ailment affecting both sawfish and other species in the area. Despite the round-the-clock care, including medicine and vitamins, the sawfish's condition worsened, leading to a humane euthanasia.

Since November, the die-off has claimed the lives of at least 45 sawfish and impacted over 50 other species. A necropsy is planned to investigate the cause of the distress, which remains undetermined. Potential factors include environmental changes, with climate change suggested as a possible contributor, as Florida waters experienced unusually high temperatures last summer, causing other marine life damage.

The smalltooth sawfish, once common along the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic coasts, is now mainly found in southwestern Florida and the Keys. This incident underscores the vulnerability of the species, whose habitat continues to shrink. Wildlife officials and researchers continue to monitor the situation closely, hoping to prevent further losses within this and other affected species.


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