MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- The South Florida Museum announced its plans Thursday to make changes to its policy regarding manatee care operations after the tragic death of the beloved manatee.
Officials have reviewed the situation and reasons for Snooty's death and have determined that a change is necessary, according to the South Florida Museum.
Snooty, the 69-year-old manatee, had spent 68 years of his life in the museum's care. He was used for education and inspiration for rehabilitation and conservation surrounding the care of manatees locally and worldwide.
The Museum Board of Trustees sought out an expert to review footage and interview employees to discover the cause of death.
James Gesauldi was chosen to investigate and following his review, he discovered that Snooty's death was 'the result of a preventable accident and that several factors contributed to this tragedy.'
The factors he included were problems in record keeping, issues with communications between departments and within departments, no follow up interactions, and the need for better staff training.
The Museum's Chief Executive Officer, Brynne Anne Besio, released the following statement:
"During this thorough review process, we discovered that Aquarium staff were aware of the panel being loose or askew, or that it was missing screws, beginning Sunday, July 16 -- a week before Snooty's death. Due to breakdowns in record-keeping, reporting, communication, and follow-through -- while some action was taken -- no action culminated in an effective repair. And on behalf of the Museum, I apologize for those mistakes. We have made, and continue to make, substantive changes -- operationally and philosophically -- to address the breakdowns that contributed to this tragic accident."
The museum plans to make the following changes following the tragic drowning and death of Snooty: staff changes, retraining of staff, dive checklists, better record keeping and communication, and better work order for repair and maintenance between departments.