Rosie the manatee, in her 50s, dies at wildlife park

HOMOSASSA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — One of Florida's oldest captive manatees, Rosie, has died at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park.

The Tampa Bay Times ( reports park officials said Rosie's age was estimated to be in the 50s.

Rosie was known for looking after the younger manatees at the park, leading to jokes that Rosie was their babysitter.

She was originally captured near Marsh Island in St. Augustine in 1968 and housed at Marineland until 1980.

Rosie was never considered a suitable candidate for release, as she had an equilibrium problem that limited her to swimming in right-hand circles.

When the Save the Manatee Club launched its Adopt-A-Manatee program, Rosie picked up a famous sponsor, actor John Lithgow, who wrote a children's book about manatees.


Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.),