Here in Florida we are mourning the untimely death of Snooty, an unfortunate manatee who was born and kept in captivity for 69 years. Sixty Nine Years! Manatees in the wild swim thousands of miles in their lifetimes. They zip in and out of the ocean and lurk in warmer canals during winter months. They eat. A lot! But they don’t stay in one tiny spot of their own free will. Snooty, alas, was a prisoner.
Everybody loved Snooty. Just last week the museum in Bradenton where Snooty lived had a huge 69th birthday party for him. Nobody ever asked how Snooty liked being confined to a small tank for all those long decades, instead of swimming free visiting springs and rivers and beaches and just roaming around eating seagrass.
Everybody just assumed that, since everybody loved Snooty, that somehow meant Snooty loved his life in confinement. I doubt it.
Snooty drowned a day or two after the aforementioned 69th birthday party last week. A grate over a tunnel leading to plumbing equipment somehow came loose. Snooty, probably trying to escape, got stuck in the tunnel and drowned.
It should be only a day or two before people start asking how a bolted grate came to be open. Because this is South Florida, it shouldn’t be long after that until someone proposes that Snooty was the victim of a nefarious plot. That he was, in fact, murdered. Possibly he was lured into that tunnel with some ripe lettuce. The spectre of domestic terrorism will no doubt be run up the flagpole by a shameless media.
What people really should be talking about is the morality of keeping such a large, seafaring animal in a little concrete tank for decades. So far all the news is about Snooty’s longevity in his aquatic prison.
That’s what shouldn’t happen again.
We still are all sad about Snooty. One way or the other.