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BRADENTON, Fla. - In the wake of the tragic loss of the world's oldest manatee in captivity, residents in Manatee County, Florida, have taken to the internet to remember the beloved Snooty with a statue that would replace a Confederate monument, the Bradenton Herald reports.
The Change.org petition had more than 3,200 signatures early Tuesday. “For a manatee as loved as he was in the community, it’s amazing to see the support,” said Anthony Pusateri, who started the petition. He said it will be submitted to the county and city of Bradenton for consideration.
Pusateri said he's not asking for the complete removal of the Confederate monument that now stands in front of the county courthouse. It could be moved to another location, he said, paving the way for Snooty to take the prime spot in the center of downtown Bradenton.
There was an outpouring of emotion Monday across Bradenton, where residents stopped to honor Snooty at the museum. They left flowers, cards, drawings from children, lettuce, carrots and a candle near the front door, according to the Herald.
Snooty drowned Sunday after becoming stuck in the life-support maintenance area at his home at the South Florida Museum, just two days after his 69th birthday. It's not yet known how he got stuck in the small tube, according to another Bradenton Herald story.
Divers inspected the tank Monday to ensure the safety of the museum's three manatees undergoing rehabilitation.
Jeff Rodgers, the museum's chief operating officer, told the Herald that a memorial service for Snooty is being planned, along with a special memorial on the museum's grounds.
The first recorded manatee born in captivity in 1948, Snooty had lived at the museum since 1949.
Read more from the Bradenton Herald.