Get ready for a Snooty statue. Say goodbye to a Confederate monument.
A petition in Bradenton, Fla., is calling for a memorial to Confederate veterans to be replaced with a statue of beloved Snooty the manatee, who died in a tragic tank accident at the weekend only days after celebrating his 69th birthday.
Local media reports that thousands have signed the petition, which is the brainchild of local resident Anthony Pusateri.
“Snooty the Manatee has been a symbol of Bradenton, Fla., for almost 70 years. He suddenly passed away on July 23, 2017 and was the oldest living Manatee on record in the world,” Pusateri wrote on Change.org.
“Subsequently, there is a Confederate memorial statue that stands directly in front of the old courthouse just blocks away from the aquarium where Snooty resided. To honor Snooty’s legacy as a positive icon in Bradenton, I propose that the negative symbol of racism and oppression that is the Confederate monument be relocated and replaced with a statue of Snooty the Manatee,” he added.
According to the Bradenton Herald, Pusateri created the petition on Sunday evening after hearing the news of Snooty’s death. He said he also previously heard someone calling for the Confederate statue to be removed.
“Why not do two birds with one stone?” Pusateri told the paper.
Pusateri told the paper that when he gets 2,000 signatures, he will submit it for consideration by the city and the county. Early on Tuesday morning, there were almost 3,500 signatures.
He noted that he’s not calling for the Confederate monument, which stands next to the Manatee County courthouse, to be destroyed. Instead, it would be moved and replaced by one in honor of Snooty, who was Bradenton’s official mascot.
Snooty died at the South Florida Museum aquarium, reported local TV station WFLA, in what aquarium officials called a “simply a heartbreaking accident” in which he became trapped in a hatch door and drowned.
He was listed as the World’s Oldest Manatee in Captivity in the Guinness World Records 2017 Edition, the station said, and was believed to be the oldest living manatee in the world.