FORT LAUDERDALE—Red tide, a harmful algal bloom, has been confirmed in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties and is strongly suspected in Broward. The South Florida Wildlife Center—the country’s highest-volume wildlife trauma hospital—anticipates treating an increased number of patients in the days ahead, particularly seabirds who consume red tide-contaminated fish. Red tide can have toxic effects on people and animals. Pets should also be kept away, to avoid potential contamination from eating dead animals or swimming.

Debra Parsons-Drake, executive director of the South Florida Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, said:

“We are expecting to see higher-than-normal patient admissions in the days ahead, as red tide can have a devastating effect on wildlife, particularly seabirds. Our veterinary team is knowledgeable about red tide symptoms and treatment and we are ready to help these animals. We are asking anyone who rescues birds or other wildlife suspected of being affected by red tide to wear gloves and avoid any direct contact with the water. Dogs should be kept off the beach, to avoid contamination from deceased fish or direct contact with the algae.”

“We are extremely fortunate that the red tide in our community is expected to be moderate, which means most people, aside from those with chronic respiratory issues, should only have mild symptoms. However, red tide is rare in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, and its presence now could be indicative of a longer-term environmental shift. South Florida Wildlife Center tracks and studies environmental changes like this which affect people and wildlife and seeks ways to mitigate health-related effects of environmental toxins.”

For questions or assistance relating to Florida wildlife impacted by red tide, call South Florida Wildlife Center at 954-524-4302.

South Florida Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, is the nation’s highest-volume wildlife trauma hospital. A national leader in wildlife veterinary medicine and rehabilitation, SFWC provides emergency rescue, triage, diagnostics, veterinary treatment, recovery habitats, orphan rearing and expert rehabilitative care to more than 350 wild species. Founded in 1969, the Fort Lauderdale-based facility helps more than 12,000 injured, orphaned or imperiled animals annually, responds to wildlife conflicts, and collaborates locally and nationally on issues impacting human, environmental and animal health. Visit https://www.facebook.com/southfloridawildlifecenter/ for regular updates on our work.

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