The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium gave details regarding the recent death of a manatee named Hugh in their care.
Hugh died at the Sarasota aquarium on April 29 due to injuries from having sex with his brother Buffett, according to NBC News.
On Friday, Mote officials reported Hugh and Buffett’s sexual behavior was natural but increased on the day Hugh died, according to a statement published on Mote’s Facebook page.
Mote’s attending veterinarians instructed the animal care team to monitor both manatees throughout the day closely.
The statement said no apparent signs of distress or discomfort were seen that would require staff intervention.
Instead, the animal care team, taking cues from the veterinarians, opted to use distraction techniques instead of separating the animals.
Previous attempts at separation between Hugh and Buffet “has previously caused undue anxiety and negative effects in both manatees,” according to Mote.
They tried to redirect the manatees’ attention with positive reinforcement tools and enrichment, both of which succeeded in the past.
“(We) acted within the professional standards and practices that we have observed throughout the 27 years Hugh and Buffett have lived together,” Mote said. “(These techniques were) recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership.”
The statement thanked everyone for their support as they “continue to mourn the loss of Hugh.”