BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — An outside review has determined that the drowning death of a 69-year-old captive manatee could have been prevented.
South Florida Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio announced the findings Thursday after a review by animal welfare attorney James Gesualdi.
Snooty was found dead July 23, two days after his birthday. The large marine mammal had become trapped in a maintenance tube. The review found aquarium staff members were aware of the maintenance panel being loose or missing screws a week earlier, but an effective repair was never completed.
Museum spokeswoman Jessica Schubick confirmed that Marilyn Margold, the aquarium's director when Snooty died, no longer works for the museum. A telephone message left for Margold wasn't immediately returned.
The museum says Snooty was certified in 2015 as the longest-living manatee in captivity.