The South Florida Museum may bring in outside help to determine the details leading up to Snooty the manatee’s death, according to the museum’s spokeswoman.
Footage from security cameras does not show how the panel to a plumbing access area became dislodged because the aquarium is kept dark at night without lights. Snooty made his way into the area overnight Saturday, was unable to remove himself and subsequently drowned, museum officials said.
“We are absolutely considering a third-party review,” said museum Communications Manager Jessica Schubick said.
She added that neither the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which certifies the aquarium, nor the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would do the review.
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“We already have the USDA certification and it won’t be FWC. It will be separate from USDA to ensure we have an outside entity do that check,” Schubick said.
Snooty was found dead Sunday morning when staff returned to work and found him missing from the tank. A panel that had not been opened on the maintenance area for years was discovered dislodged and Snooty was located inside. A necropsy revealed that Snooty had drowned.
A 911 call outlined the discovery, beginning with a museum staff member saying, “We have a problem.”
The community has been devastated by the loss of Snooty, and Tuesday’s reopening of the museum for the first time without Snooty was emotional for visitors and staff alike.
In the meantime, the community also awaits news from the museum about Snooty’s memorial service.
“We are getting those wheels in motion now and are hoping to have information to release as soon as possible,” Schubick said. “There are a lot of moving parts to this, but there should be information soon.”