Florida may have more to worry about than just slapping Band Aids on the blue-green algae problem, as we see here that some cyanobacteria may be elephant killers. The article does not say and it may not be known yet which toxic species were in the African water pools. There are many different kinds of cyanobacteria, but we know some in Florida are toxic.
Approximately 20 cyanobacteria species in Florida’s waters are capable of producing toxins, and we know that some may be harmful to humans, but there is much more to be learned. And the more we learn the worse it gets.
But what we do know is that cyanobacteria is a growing problem in Florida and that it inhabits the Santa Fe River, in part and mostly because too much fertilizer is being dumped on the ground in the watershed.
And way too much pumping out of our declining aquifer is slowing down the flow and helping the algae grow.
Cyanobacteria are toxic bacteria which can occur naturally in standing water and sometimes grow into large blooms known as blue-green algae.
Scientists warn that climate change may be making these incidents – known as toxic blooms – more likely, because they favour warm water.
Warning: Some people may find an image below upsetting
The findings follow months of tests in specialist laboratories in South Africa, Canada, Zimbabwe and the US.
Many of the dead elephants were found near watering holes, but until now the wildlife authorities had doubted that the bacteria were to blame because the blooms appear on the edges of ponds and elephants tend to drink from the middle.
“Our latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths. These are bacteria found in water,” the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ Principal Veterinary Officer Mmadi Reuben told a press conference on Monday.
The deaths “stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of [water] pans”, AFP quotes him as saying.