A protest will be held on Saturday calling for the ouster of the CEO and staff at the Florida museum where Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity, recently drowned.
The 69-year-old manatee died last month after becoming trapped in a maintenance tube at the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium.
The ‘Justice for Snooty’ protest will be held Saturday afternoon outside the museum in Bradenton, The Ledger reports. The protest is hosted by animal rights group Florida Voices for Animals, which alleges that negligence led to Snooty’s death. “We are demanding for the museum (and staff) to be held accountable for their negligence,” the group wrote, on its Facebook page. “The public demands accountability for those who attributed to our beloved Snooty's terrifying (drowning), preventable, needless, and premature death.”
Snooty died July 23, just a day after a huge party to celebrate his 69th birthday. The 1,000 pound manatee was found in an underwater area used only to access plumbing for his exhibit. A 30-inch by 30-inch panel in Snooty’s tank had become dislodged, museum officials confirmed, allowing Snooty to enter the compartment, where he became trapped.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that manatees, which cannot swim backwards, can stay underwater for 20 minutes.
The museum says that a review, which includes outside experts, is underway to collect all the facts surrounding Snooty’s death.
“Without facts, it is not appropriate to speculate or make any allegations,” the museum said, in a statement emailed to Fox News. “When the review is complete and action steps are determined, the Museum is committed to sharing the information publicly.”
“The animal rights group that says it plans to protest at the Museum on Saturday is not honoring Snooty or the significance of his life as an ambassador for his species,” it added.
Snooty was born in 1948 at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company, in what has been described as the first recorded birth of a manatee in human care. He moved to Bradenton in 1949, greeting more than a million visitors in his lifetime.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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