A day after celebrating his 69th birthday, the beloved manatee named Snooty has died, the South Florida Museum announced Sunday.
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At 69, Snooty was the oldest known manatee living in captivity in the entire world. Manatees are fortunate to live into their teens in the wild.
Snooty was captive-born in 1948, before laws were passed to protect marine mammals.
The museum threw Snooty his annual birthday bash festival Saturday, with fans coming from all over to celebrate the famous manatee.
One 13-year-old boy and his family traveled all the way from North Carolina to see the elderly manatee.
Luckily, Douglas McAnulty was able to meet the lovable 1,300-pound manatee before he died.
McAnulty discovered Snooty online a couple of years ago and has been hooked ever since. Douglas said he was estactic to come to Florida to celebrate Snooty's birthday.
The South Florida Museum said his death was accidental and that the circumstances are being investigated.
In a release sent by the South Florida Museum, officials stated, "Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. Early indications are that an access panel door that is normally bolted shut had somehow been knocked loose and that Snooty was able to swim in."
"Snooty's habitat undergoes a daily visual inspection and there were no indications the previous day that there was anything amiss. The Aquarium will remain closed while Museum staff continues its investigation and staff who worked with him have an opportunity to grieve."
The museum posted on their Facebook page saying, "We know that our community and Snooty fans around the world share our grief."
Highlights of Snooty's Life
July 21, 1948 Snooty is born on The Prinz Valdemar, a Danish warship that capsized in the Miami harbor in 1926 and later became a floating restaurant and the Miami Aquarium Tackle Company.
1949 'Baby Snoots' comes to Bradenton for the Desoto Celebration and later makes his permanent home in an exhibit inside The South Florida Museum's area at the Chamber of Commerce Pier Building.
1966 Snooty moves to the newly constructed South Florida Museum.
1979 Manatee County Commissioners declare Snooty to be the County's official mascot.
1982 Snooty gains even wider fame when the children's television show, Captain Kangaroo, films him as part of a documentary on manatees.
1985 A hydrophone placed in Snooty's tank reveals for the first time the high-pitched squeaks as Snooty's vocalization.
1987 Snooty begins training to aid researchers trying to determine how well manatees hear at different frequencies.
1993 Snooty moves into his newest home: a 60,000-gallon exhibit in the newly constructed Parker Manatee Aquarium.
1998 TheParker Manatee Aquarium joins the Manatee Rehabilitation Network and is introduced to his first tank mate, Newton. During his life, Snooty hosted 33 rehabilitating manatees.
2008 Snooty celebrates his 60th birthday at his annual Birthday Bash and Wildlife Festival. His life history makes him one of the most renowned stewards for endangered species and the environment.
2013 More than 6,000 guests visit the South Florida Museum to celebrate Snooty's historic 65th birthday -- the largest crowd the museum has ever seen and a testament to Snooty's popularity in the community and beyond.
2015 Snooty is officially certified as the world's oldest captive manatee by Guinness World Records.
2017 Snooty celebrates his 69th birthday.