Just yesterday (July 21), Snooty the lovable old manatee turned the ripe old age of 66. As the oldest manatee in captivity, and potentially the oldest one ever, he makes a strong case for manatee conservation. Few manatees in the wild live past 30, and most don’t make it past 10 – due to both natural and man-made dangers.

Despite their sweet dispositions and harmless dispositions, and despite the love that visitors to the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium have for Snooty, manatees are nonetheless endangered. In fact, they suffer mutilations from boats on a regular basis because of insufficient protections safeguarding them from razor-sharp propellers.

More info: southfloridamuseum.org | Facebook | Instagram (h/t: huffpost)

Happy birthday, Snooty!

Snooty was born in 1948 – when Harry S. Truman was President in the U.S.

Because he was born and raised in captivity, Snooty cannot be released into the wild.

“Snooty eats 70-80lbs of lettuce, carrots, kale, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and other assorted vegetables daily. With a diet like that, there’s no wonder why he’s the world’s oldest manatee!” – South Florida Museum

Research performed with Snooty has helped expand researchers’ understanding of manatees. What once seemed to many like a dumb species (in part because of their tiny brains in proportion to their body mass) is now known to have intelligence comparable to that of dolphins, though with far less grace and agility.