Florida man petitions to replace Confederate memorial with statue of beloved manatee

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — The death of Snooty, the world’s oldest known manatee, just one day after his 69th birthday, has sparked controversy over where a memorial honoring him should go. One Bradenton man is petitioning for the Confederate statue in front of the courthouse to be moved, and replaced with a statute of Snooty instead.

For decades, the Confederate monument has stood in downtown Bradenton. Many people don’t even recognize it’s there, but it’s offensive to some, including Anthony Pusateri.

“The Confederate army fought for slavery, they fought for bigotry and racism and for me, I’m just not cool with that,” he said.

Pusateri believes in history but says the monument can be admired someplace else.

“Plenty of government buildings all over the nation have removed such statues,” he said. “The federal courthouse in Tampa is also trying to relocate their monument. Why not Bradenton?”

Instead, Pusateri wants Snooty out front of the courthouse.

“Everyone loves Snooty. Especially if you grew up in the area and he is definitely a symbol the whole community can get behind regardless of their political or social agenda,” Pusateri said.

Close to 5,000 people agree with him and have signed his online petition.

As for a memorial for Snooty, workers at the South Florida Museum are planning something permanent for him. The exact details aren’t certain yet.