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Stranded manatee rescued from canal near Moore Haven

A manatee stranded in a canal near Moore Haven is rescued by biologists and volunteers on Jan. 7, 2021. (screenshot via SFWMD video)

A manatee found stranded in a canal near Moore Haven has a new home after being rescued by biologists from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

A SFWMD field crew working on the Lake Hicpochee restoration project, just west of Moore Haven and south of the Brighton Reservation, noticed the manatee in a 1.5-mile stretch of canal on Jan. 7. They called FSW and together, with some volunteers, were able to rescue the 1,300-pound female.

The manatee was trapped between two water control structures, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s office. It took about 20 people to lift the animal onto a powerlift and into the FSW’s Marine Mammal Rescue truck.

The manatee was successfully released into the safer waters of the Orange River in Fort Myers, not far from a Florida Power and Light plant on the Caloosahatchee River.

A manatee is tended to during the rescue. (Screenshot via SFWMD video)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at