Snooty, the world’s oldest-known manatee, has sadly passed away. Listed in the Guinness World Records as the oldest manatee in captivity, Snooty had turned 69 years old on Friday.
Officials with the South Florida Museum announced the sad news yesterday.
“Our initial findings indicate that Snooty’s death was a heartbreaking accident and we’re all quite devastated about his passing,” Brynne Anne Besio, the Museum’s CEO said in a Press Release.
“We’re reviewing what happened and will be conducting a full review of the circumstances. Snooty was such a unique animal, and he had so much personality that people couldn’t help but be drawn to him,” she continued. “We are honored to have had him with us for so long and will continue his legacy through our manatee rehabilitation program.”
Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. Early indications are that a panel that is kept bolted shut had somehow been dislodged and that Snooty was able to swim in. The other three manatees that are undergoing rehabilitation in Snooty’s habitat are fine.
Snooty’s habitat undergoes a daily visual inspection, and there were no indications the previous day that there was anything amiss.
Snooty was born on July 21, 1948, at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company, the first recorded birth of a manatee in human care. He moved to Bradenton in 1949. “Baby Snoots,” as he was then known, was brought to Bradenton as part of the 1949 Desoto Celebration and later that year he moved permanently to the South Florida Museum’s care. In 1979, he became Manatee County’s official mascot. During his lifetime, he greeted more than a million visitors.
A necropsy will be performed at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory in St. Petersburg.
Throughout his life, Snooty contributed much to our understanding of manatees; not only did he participate in scientific research programs designed to help understand things like manatee hearing and vocalization, but he also hosted other manatees that were being rehabilitated for return to the wild as part of the Manatee Rehabilitation Network.
WAN only supports the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wild animals back into their natural habitat and does not promote captivity of wild animals for human entertainment.
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