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A manatee milestone: Snooty turning 60

Snooty, the mascot of Manatee County, will soon mark his sixth decade. He will celebrate a little early with a party Saturday at his home at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

Times (2001)

Snooty, the mascot of Manatee County, will soon mark his sixth decade. He will celebrate a little early with a party Saturday at his home at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

He remembers things he was taught when he was a year old. He eats healthy food and gets lots of exercise. No wonder Snooty has lived longer than any other captive manatee in the world. On Monday, the mascot of Manatee County turns 60, showing the resilience of one of Florida's natural icons. He was born aboard one boat — the Prins Valdemar, which had been converted into the Miami Aquarium — after another one had injured his mother. Alice Walters Wallace, now 85, the daughter of the owner of the Prins Valdemar, remembers rubbing ointment on the mother manatee's propeller wounds and swimming with the affectionate calf. Snooty's keeper trained him to do simple tricks that he still performs. Today, Snooty gets a party at the South Florida Museum — no cake, just strawberries and pineapples. A fellow his age has to watch what he eats.

July 21, 1948

Snooty born at the Miami Aquarium to Lady, an injured manatee. Operator Sam Stout trains both Lady and her calf to do tricks. Harry Truman in the White House.

April 1, 1949

In trouble for having two manatees instead of the one on his permit, Stout donates Snooty to Manatee County. Calf housed in a 3,000-gallon tank at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

1950

Miami Aquarium closed. Lady disappears into Biscayne Bay. Pioneering manatee biologist Joe Moore visits Snooty in Bradenton, cites performance of tricks to show how intelligent manatees are.

1965

First American combat troops land in Vietnam. Construction begins on a new South Florida Museum, including 7,000-gallon tank for Snooty.

1967-68

First in-depth study of manatees conducted by Daniel "Woodie" Hartman and James ""Buddy'' Powell in Crystal River. Powell's parents took him to visit Snooty when he was 8.

1972

ABC airs Jacques Yves-Cousteau's Forgotten Mermaids documentary, made with Hartman's help, creating international interest in Florida manatees.

1973

President Nixon signs the Endangered Species Act. Manatees on original endangered list.

1978

Snooty turns 30. Legislature declares entire state a manatee sanctuary.

1981

Jimmy Buffett meets Gov. Bob Graham and they create Save the Manatee Club, set up in part by Patrick Rose, who visited Snooty on college break in the late '60s.

1991

Save the Manatee Club petitions to move Snooty to Homosassa Springs State Park to breed with females. Manatee County officials successfully oppose loss of mascot.

1993

Museum moves Snooty into 60,000-gallon pool.

1998

Snooty gets company at last: Newton, a male orphan from Miami. A month after Snooty turns 50, Newton dies of bacterial infection.

2000

Save the Manatee Club sues government over manatee deaths caused by boats. Suit leads to new regulations, sparking a move to declare manatees no longer on endangered list.

2007

Gov. Charlie Crist meets Buffett in Tampa, hears personal appeal to stop downlisting of manatees. Crist announces opposition, halting the move.

July 21, 2008

Snooty turns 60.

A manatee milestone: Snooty turning 60 07/18/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 3:03pm]
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