Protesters call for firings at museum where Snooty the manatee drowned

Dozens of protesters gathered Saturday outside the Florida museum where Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity, recently drowned to demand the dismissal of its CEO and COO.

Snooty, 69, died July 23 after becoming trapped in a maintenance tube at the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium. The day before, the museum had held a party to celebrate his 69th birthday.

According to the Bradenton Herald, approximately 30 protesters held a "Justice for Snooty" demonstration outside the museum, blaming negligence for the manatee's death.

Organizer Denise Anderson told the paper that Snooty should have passed away peacefully of old age, rather than by a "horrifying death by drowning."

"Snooty is not here to get [justice] himself, but we want to get it for him," Anderson added.

After Snooty's death, museum officials confirmed that a 30-inch by 30-inch panel in his tank had become dislodged, allowing the manatee to enter the compartment, where he became trapped.

"[The museum's] COO [Jeff Rodgers] after Snooty died went on live television and said that the panel that Snooty swam through where he died was checked by divers on a daily basis,” Anderson told the Herald. "The media-released photos taken two days before showed that same panel holding on by one screw."

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 Friday. "When the review is complete and action steps are determined, the Museum is committed to sharing the information publicly."

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 report.

Click for more from the Bradenton Herald.