It wasn’t old age but rather an unbolted hatch that led to the death of Snooty, the world’s oldest known manatee.
Officials at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, Fla., sadly reported the passing on Facebook shortly after the animal’s 69th birthday.
Snooty’s death is being referred to as a “tragic accident.”
“Our initial investigation indicates that Snooty’s death was a heartbreaking accident, and we’re all quite devastated about his passing,” Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio said in a release. “We’re reviewing what happened and will be conducting a full investigation into the circumstances.”
According to the museum, the manatee was discovered in an off-limits underwater area used to access plumbing for the exhibit life. Snooty had entered the area; a panel door, normally bolted shut, had somehow been knocked loose.
Three other manatees in his habitat are all OK.