DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A manatee and her calf who had been trapped at a Daytona Beach marina were freed Wednesday afternoon, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
Officials said they used a barge and a backhoe to remove two panels from the barrier wall that the manatees were stuck behind at Halifax Harbor Marina, allowing them to swim back into the intracoastal waterway.
The manatees were first spotted in the walled-off pond Thursday as tide levels rose during Hurricane Dorian.
It’s believed that the manatees were able to swim over the wall while water levels were high but unable to swim out once waters receded.
“The tide has been really, really high through here even before Dorian with the king tides and stuff, so it would have been really easy for her to get stuck in there," Daytona Beach resident Jean Dewey said.
Officials said plans to rescue the manatees had been delayed due to dangerous conditions for both the animals and the workers tasked with freeing them.
Channel 9 reporter Mike Springer tweeted video of a kayaker who helped guide the manatees out of the opening and into the intracoastal waterway. See the video.
Officials said parts of the wall are being reinstalled and mesh is being added to the area to ensure the manatees cannot return to the pond.
They said they will return to the pond Thursday to ensure the pair has left the area.
.@MyFWC says it would be difficult to get a boat in here to a rescue and removing the paneling would be the easiest and least stressful for the animals. They say they’ve been out checking on them since last week. https://t.co/6TFvxq0J3f— Mike Springer WFTV (@mspringerwftv) September 11, 2019
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