Manatees trapped in canal to be rescued by FWC

- FWC is working on a plan to rescue two manatees trapped in a canal after New Port Richey workers filled in a berm, trapping the gentle giants beyond it.

FWC says at least two manatees - possibly a mother and her calf - are stuck in the canals surrounding a New Port Richey Mobile home park.

Debbie Westerlund says a berm was filled in a few days ago, cutting off the only link between the Cody River and the canals in the Harbor View Manor Mobile Home Park. It had previously eroded away.

“Over time it collapsed, it collapse to the point were able to get our kayaks and get to the river,” Westerlund said.

The space was also enough for manatees to go back and forth.

”They feel like this is a sanctuary for them. No motorboats come in so they've been coming in and out freely. All of a sudden they couldn’t get out,” said Westerlund.

Neighbors are fuming at the city of New Port Richey for putting the berm back up, also adding a new 36-inch pipe.  

“I even asked the workers, 'Why are you doing this?' He said, 'I was told by my boss it had to be done today,'” Parnell Houser, who lives within eyeshot of the berm, said.

FWC says the manatees aren’t in any immediate danger. Though not ideal, they should be able to forage on some of the vegetation around the canals. FWC plans to relocate the stranded manatees early next week.

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