Tragedy as 65-year-old manatee, Juliet, dies at zoo just four months ... trends now

Tragedy as 65-year-old manatee, Juliet, dies at zoo just four months ... trends now
Tragedy as 65-year-old manatee, Juliet, dies at Tampa zoo just four months ... trends now

Tragedy as 65-year-old manatee, Juliet, dies at Tampa zoo just four months ... trends now

One of the world's oldest known manatees has died, four months after being rescued from desolate conditions at the infamous Miami Seaquarium.

Officials from ZooTampa at Lowry Park announced the death of 65-year-old manatee Juliet on Sunday after exhibiting declining health conditions over the past week.

Juliet and her mate Romeo were rescued from the Miami Seaquarium in December after drone footage showing Romeo circling in a worse-for-wear pool went viral.

'Juliet was a beloved animal, who captured the hearts of many worldwide. We would be contacted frequently by animal care professionals, veterinarians and even the general public who credit her for instilling their passion for these gentle sea cows,' said Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, ZooTampa's senior vice president of animal health, conservation, and education. 

'For more than four months, both Romeo and Juliet had successfully adapted to their new environments in the Zoo's rehabilitation pools and were socializing with other manatees, Romeo continues to thrive.'

Officials from ZooTampa announced Juliet, one of the world's oldest known manatees, has died

Officials from ZooTampa announced Juliet, one of the world's oldest known manatees, has died

Juliet and her mate Romeo were rescued from the Miami Seaquarium in December

Juliet and her mate Romeo were rescued from the Miami Seaquarium in December

Juliet, 65, died on Sunday after exhibiting declining health conditions over the past week

Juliet, 65, died on Sunday after exhibiting declining health conditions over the past week

The Miami Seaquarium said Romeo and Juliet were 'rescued in 1956' and are 'local celebrities' at the aquarium where they had lived for 66 years.

Romeo was dubbed 'America's loneliest manatee' after a viral video showed him alone in a tank while his partner, Juliet, with whom he shared multiple calves, was kept in a separate 'celebrity' tank on the main site.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava issued a lease termination to the troubled Seaquarium in March after the U.S. Department of Agriculture found it had 'numerous and significant violations and defaults.'

The eviction deadline was set for Sunday, but Miami Seaquarium defied the order and is fighting Miami-Dade County in federal court, reported Local10 News.

The Seaquarium is seeking $35 million in damages and claiming the eviction was forced without a plan for the animals.

The Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership  successfully transported three manatees – Romeo, Juliet and Clarity – from Miami Seaquarium to SeaWorld Orlando and ZooTampa in December.

The transportation was a tremendous struggle due to the animals' size, weight and health condition.

But accompanied by specialized vehicles and an experienced team of vets and animal care specialists, all three made the trip safely.

'When Juliet arrived at the zoo there were many aspects of her overall health that were unknown. She was an unusually large animal, weighing 3,045 pounds and her age was estimated at over 65 years old, making her one of the oldest known manatees,' said Stringfield. 

Their relocation to ZooTampa was part of a bigger operation that state and federal wildlife officials say had been in planning for months between the government and Florida-wide private care facilities.

Video of Romeo swimming forlornly in his tank, shot by campaign group UrgentSeas, pans over a desolate area of the park before zooming in on the solitary figure, spinning in circles in the murky waters.

UrgentSeas co-founder Phil Demers claimed that Romeo had been kept alone in the tank in 'Pompano pools', which are closed to the public, since at least last April.

Romeo's plight was picked up by 11-time World Surf League champ Kelly Slater who called for people to put pressure on the Florida

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