Snooty, oldest captive manatee, remembered by hundreds at emotional service

Snooty, the world’s oldest captive manatee, died two days after his 69th birthday in late June after he swan through a panel in his pool, which had inadvertantly been left open, into a tunnel and drowned.

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Snooty, the world’s oldest captive manatee, died two days after his 69th birthday in late June after he swan through a panel in his pool, which had inadvertantly been left open, into a tunnel and drowned.

The South Florida Museum in Bradenton hosted a memorial and open house Sunday to give fans a chance to celebrate the life of Snooty, the beloved manatee who died in July at age 69.

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A 10-minute video tribute featuring images taken from throughout Snooty's long life drew tears from many in the audience, the Bradenton Herald reported.  "Snooty was a big part of all of our lives," Sofia Hopper said, her voice still shaking.

Julie McNellis of Bradenton, who first saw Snooty as a child in the 1970s, also cried when watching the tribute video. "There were a few tears, and I wasn't alone," she said.

More than 1,000 were in attendance just halfway through the five-hour memorial, according to the Herald.

Explore>> Related: Famous Florida manatee, Snooty, oldest on record, killed in freak aquarium ‘accident’

Snooty drowned July 23 in the life-support maintenance area in the aquarium just two days after his 69th birthday. Somehow a panel dislodged, allowing Snooty access to a tunnel where he became stuck.

An outside review later determined that Snooty's death could have been prevented. In the wake of the investigation, the aquarium director left her job.

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At Sunday's event, guests received keepsake stones featuring Snooty's picture, date of birth and date of death. They signed a Snooty memorial log, viewed displays and visited the museum's remaining rehab manatees.

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