Manatees

The year that just ended was a deadly one for manatees in Florida.

Preliminary data shows that 538 manatees were found dead in Florida waterways last year, according to state officials.

Photo: South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum announced the death of 69-year-old manatee Snooty, dubbed "the world’s oldest-known manatee," was the result of an accident that caused the aged marine mammal to drown. The manatee had entertained visitors in Bradenton since 1949.

Snooty, the longest living manatee in captivity, died Sunday in Bradenton, a day after a huge party to celebrate his 69th birthday, according to the South Florida Museum.

Things are looking up for Florida's manatees.

The West Indian manatee has long been considered "endangered"-- a species on life support. But at the end of March, federal officials changed the manatees' status to “threatened,” which means their condition is less critical. In early 2017, officials counted more than 6,000 manatees in Florida’s waters.

Some Florida lawmakers want manatees back on the endangered species list.


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