July 21, 2009

Museum marks manatee’s 61st

Officials with the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum marked the 61st birthday Tuesday of Snooty the manatee.

Jeff Rodgers, director of education at the Bradenton, Fla., aquarium, said a crowd sang Happy Birthday to Snooty at noon Tuesday and cards wishing the manatee well were hung from the wall outside of his tank, the Bradenton Herald reported Tuesday.

He's set another benchmark for us, Rodgers said. As far as we know, Snooty's the oldest living manatee in captivity and possibly the oldest living manatee in the world.

Rodgers said an estimated 5,000 people are expected to pass by Snooty's tank Tuesday to wish him a happy birthday. He said the museum opened a new exhibit on the anatomy, diet and other details of manatee life to coincide with Snooty's anniversary.

Snooty has always been a beloved icon, but he's also presented us with a tremendous opportunity to teach, Rodgers said.