COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Red Tide has been rolling through Southwest Florida waters for the past few months. The toxic algae bloom sitting off-shore can hurt marine life and cause respiratory problems in people.
"The Red Tide acts as a Neurotoxin, the liver processes any kind of toxins in your body, so the Red Tide is very hard on the liver," said Jonee Miller, a Rehabilitation Specialist, with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Miller said a Laughing Gull came into the clinic Thursday, suffering from symptoms caused by Red Tide.
"They can walk like they're disoriented, paralyzed in different parts of their body. They may not be able to stand or they may be walking very disoriented," she said.
Miller said the Von Arx Wildlife Hospital has treated nearly 20 animals since the end of October.
"Mostly shore birds that are in the area where the bloom is, anything that eats the fish." she said, "It's very easy to capture one of these birds since they are having trouble understanding the world around them."
She said each case is different depending on how much toxin they've ingested.
"Some can clear up on its own, but if they've ingested a large amount of toxin, it can be fatal," she said.
To help an animal suffering from the effects of Red Tide you can call the conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples or CROW (the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) on Sanibel.
"You can take a towel or a t-shirt and place it over top of the animal, covering their body and eyes. Place both hands on either side of their wings and bring them to our center," Miller stated.
According to the latest Florida Fish and Wildlife report, the Red Tide bloom, extends through Lee county and Southern Collier County, affecting approximately 140 miles of shoreline in Southwest Florida.