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Snooty the manatee was a beloved local fixture and tourism attraction.
A new online petition aims to replace a Confederate monument outside the Manatee county courthouse in Florida with a statue of an actual manatee—and it’s starting to gain traction.
According to the Bradenton Herald, people were already discussing whether to remove the monument when tragedy struck. The town lost its beloved mascot Snooty, the oldest Manatee in captivity and quite possibly the world. Manatees in the wild typically only live to be around 10 years old, but Snooty had just celebrated his 69th birthday when he was found dead in his aquarium. Museum officials say he somehow gained access to a maintenance tube overnight and was unable to extract himself
Snooty was the first known manatee to be born in captivity, and his long life had made him not only a tourist attraction but a boon to scientists who study marine mammals. South Florida Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio said they were “heartsick” about Snooty’s death and “want his legacy to continue through our manatee rehabilitation program and through all of our education and outreach programs.”
Anthony Pusateri of Sarasota, Florida, had an even better idea. According to his Change.org petition, he wants to “kill two birds with one stone” and replace the Confederate monument with a statue of Snooty.
Snooty the Manatee has been a symbol of Bradenton, FL for almost 70 years. He suddenly passed away on July 23rd 2017 and was the oldest living Manatee on record in the world. Subsequently, there is a Confederate memorial statue that stands directly in front of the old courthouse just blocks away from the aquarium where Snooty resided. To honor Snooty’s legacy as a positive icon in Bradenton, I propose that the negative symbol of racism and oppression that is the Confederate monument be relocated and replaced with a statue of Snooty the Manatee. By doing so, the Confederate monument could possibly be moved to a museum (or other more appropriate location) out of everyday public eye and a more positive symbol then take its place.
It seems to be a popular idea. As of this writing, the petition has nearly 7,000 signatures, and people are taking to Twitter to show their support.
Mayor of City of Bradenton: Replace Confederate monument with statue of Snooty the Manatee https://t.co/nUzY7Qv1oG Long live Snooty!
— Suzy Exposito (@HexPositive) July 24, 2017
— Elizabeth Johnson (@_ejohnson_) July 25, 2017
— Travis Nichols (@travisjnichols) July 25, 2017
Stand up for what is right. https://t.co/ORlmc4IqbZ
— Graydon Gordian (@MrGordian) July 25, 2017
It seems like, unlike the South, Snooty may just rise again.
H/T USA Today
David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.