For years, animal-rights activists have been trying to win freedom for the captive orca known to Miami Seaquarium audiences as “Lolita.” A recent announcement by federal officials could be the first step.
The oldest manatee ever to be held in captivity celebrated his 65th birthday on Sunday.
In what was one of the first recorded births in captivity, Snooty was born at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company on July 21, 1948. In 1949, he was transferred to the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, where he has been living comfortably ever since.
To celebrate the occasion, the museum held a free birthday party.
Over the years, Snooty has proven to be invaluable in teaching scientists about conservation and education of the state's marine life.
One of Florida's most beloved endangered species is facing a tough end to the winter. State wildlife officials have confirmed the deaths of more than 170 manatees in Southwest Florida as red tide impacts regional populations of the gentle water-dwelling mammals.