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article imageFlorida wildlife officials can't master elusive macaque monkey

By Stephanie Dearing     Mar 4, 2010 in World
Coined 'Florida's Most Wanted Primate,' the Rhesus Macaque monkey has been on the loose for the last year in Florida, starting to gain mythical status for its exploits, continually eluding capture.
St. Petersburg, Fla. - The unnamed monkey even has its own following - press, police, wildlife officials, and curious onlookers. The monkey was spotted in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. Wildlife officials managed to hit it twice with tranquilizer darts, but the clever little monkey still managed a daring daylight getaway by running behind a store and a church before officials lost sight of the critter. The monkey, whose breed is most often used for animal research, is said to be smart enough to check for cars before crossing roads. Officials believe the macaque might be immune to the tranquilizers used.
Last fall, officials called off the search after a half-day showdown was easily won by the monkey. The attempt to capture the monkey drew a crowd of residents who gathered to watch police chase the 30 pound culprit. The monkey eluded police and wildlife officials by making use of rooftops and trees. After the monkey ran into the woods, the search was called off, and officials warned the public that the monkey might be aggressive and to use caution when approaching the primate.
One Wildlife Official has been chasing the monkey around Florida for the past year. Speaking to Florida press last year, Vernon Yates sadi "I have no fear for this monkey at all. He's too intelligent." Yates has speculated that the macaque, which has been leading him on a merry chase, might have come from a feral colony of Macaques living in Silver River State Park, Florida. The monkeys were released there in 1938. However, in the relatively recent past, the Patas monkey has made Florida home.
Normally Rhesus monkeys live in Asia. Macaques are known for flinging their feces at threats.
Florida is plagued with feral animals, including pigs, iguanas, cats, snakes, tree frogs ... all either released by their owners, or accidentally escaped. The climate of Florida is perfect for these species.
More about Florida, Monkey, Rhesus macaque, Wildlife officials, Most wanted primate
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