The South Florida Museum is launching a “living memorial” opportunity for people to post their photos, memories and best wishes of Snooty the manatee following the drowning death of Manatee County’s beloved mascot last weekend.
The living memorial is available on the museum’s website at SouthFloridaMuseum.org/Remembering-Snooty.
“There has been an overwhelming outpouring of grief and mourning at the loss of Snooty, who was beloved around the world,” said Brynne Anne Besio, museum CEO. “The museum staff and board of trustees share in this grief, as well as in the desire to cherish the memories of this special creature.”
A press release issued Friday states: “Photos and memories will be assembled at a later date to document the unprecedented love that people around the world felt for this special animal.”
Museum communications manager Jessica Schubick said planning continues for Snooty’s memorial service, and details will be announced at a later date.
In the meantime, museum officials continue to take action to ensure the safety of the three manatees currently undergoing rehabilitation there and “examine all details related to the accidental death on Saturday night of its famous manatee, Snooty,” a second release stated.
“No one wants to understand what happened more than we do,” said Jeff Rodgers, museum provost and chief operating officer. Rodgers said the museum and board of trustees “are committed to examining all information as part of its review of the circumstances of Snooty’s accidental death.”
The museum has asked for a third-party review to look at the aquarium’s procedures, protocols and facility. The team is expected to include leading manatee experts and is cooperating with the U.S. Agricultural Department, which inspects facilities displaying wildlife.
The panel that dislodged on a maintenance tunnel where Snooty swam into and drowned has been secured and reinforced to ensure a similar incident cannot happen, and the three manatees will continue to rehabilitate before their release into the wild.
Reinforcement of the panel includes PVC supports, including one in the middle to bar any potential entry, as well as adding an additional six stainless steel screws to secure the panel in place.
“The museum will share information about this process and findings as it becomes available,” the release went on to say.