Trilby Beresford
Updated July 24, 2017 10:07 am
South Florida Museum /

We hate getting tragic news, especially when it involves unique and special creatures. Sadly, the world’s oldest manatee was killed in a “heartbreaking accident” right after his 69th birthday (!) at the South Florida Museum where he lived.

In a press release from the museum, Jessica Schubick reported that, “Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. Early indications are that a panel that is kept bolted shut had somehow been dislodged and that Snooty was able to swim in.” Several other manatees entered the open hatch as well, but managed to get out safely (they weren’t nearly as big as Snooty). Snooty was found dead in the morning when staff opened the museum.

He was a favorite among visitors and staff at the museum, and the loss is incredibly devastating.

The internet is full of tributes to the beautiful creature.

Facebook/South Florida Museum

Apparently lettuce was one of his favorite treats. Aww!

Here Snooty was just days ago, happily swimming and doing his thing.

The crowd even sung him the “Happy Birthday” song! An absolutely GIGANTIC crowd to be exact. Of course, Snooty loved being the center of attention.

RIP, Snooty. You were enormously loved, and will be truly missed. Also, we truly hope that the circumstances surrounding the accident are thoroughly investigated so that nothing like this happens in the manatee enclosure ever again.