“People should never approach these animals,” said University of Florida professor Steve Johnson, who was part of a team that spent years studying the monkeys. So two nights in a row the Monkey bus got me and hubby home. You can learn how to avoid contact with the monkeys – and what to do if contact occurs here. “My sister named him ‘George,’” he confided. The inside story on the monkey islands of the Florida Keys. Forget Florida man, now there’s Florida monkeys. From 1984 to 2012, approximately 1,130 rhesus macaques were trapped and removed. Kruer, C. 1996. You can learn how to avoid contact with the monkeys – and what to do if contact occurs here. Therefore, the FWC supports active management to remove these threats.”, But FWC has not defined “active management," there have been no population control efforts since 2012. He procured the monkeys from a primate dealer in New York City with the intention to create a Tarzan-themed attraction on the island, but his plans quickly unraveled. “A big male … that’s an extremely strong, potentially dangerous animal.”. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. ", “That surprises me,” said Mealey. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials call the reports credible, a likely expansion of the feral monkey population in Central Florida. Sophia Loren’s life of drama, sex symbol status and scandal, Rapper and social-media influencer Braxton ‘Brax’ Baker dead at 21, Why ‘RHOA’ star Cynthia Bailey chose a rose gold wedding dress, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. 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Between 1977 to 1984, when the population consisted of roughly 400 animals, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received 23 reports of primate-inflicted human injury; since that time, the agency has quit keeping records. In 2017, cellphone video recorded aggressive monkeys taking over a park pavilion and going after people. In 2013, Riley received a grant from the National Geographic Society to investigate how rhesus macaques had adapted to Florida life. Florida’s primate problem began in 1938 when a tour boat operator known as "Colonel Tooey" released six rhesus macaques onto a small island within what is now the state park. ), The agency offered no assistance to the homeowner with the orange tree, who asked for help removing the monkey. Your Ad Choices The monkeys swam to freedom and reproduced at alarming rates and are now wandering around residential areas. Another shows it swinging through the treetops. 18 Reviews (941) 565-6542 Website. Eight-year-old Jason Parks has seen one. February 1, 2020 | 3:43pm | Updated February 3, 2020 | 9:26am. Login to download data. This station is part of Cox Media Group Television. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- “It’s going to be a problem … Continual growth of that population is going to occur without intervention,” Johnson said. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. “If they bit me, if they came after and bit you, you don’t know what they have, what they’re carrying.”, In fact, the monkeys carry -- and shed -- the Herpes B virus, which can be fatal to humans. “I was shocked, totally shocked -- it was a bigger monkey than I thought it would be,” Paula Farmer said. This story has been shared 144,348 times. It’s not the kind of animal you probably want hanging around.”. But the agency said "immunologic surveillance, reporting and diagnostic investigations in humans are lacking. When you have eliminated the JavaScript , whatever remains must be an empty page. A survey performed in 2018 found that the … log in to manage your profile and account. Both sterilization and removal ended abruptly around 2012 when the public discovered the monkeys were being taken from the park and sold. In humans, herpes B—which is closely related to the more well-known human variety, herpes simplex virus—can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord leading to severe brain damage or death. A spokesperson told First Coast News, “The FWC is not currently attempting to capture this monkey at this time.”, The agency said "will continue to monitor reports of monkeys in the Jacksonville area ... and will respond to individual monkeys acting aggressively and posing an immediate safety threat. Menu & Reservations Make Reservations . A roving band of feral, herpes-ridden monkeys is roaming across northeast Florida. From the original 12 macaques introduced in the ’30s and '40s, their numbers grew as their range expanded. Beginning in 1984, the then-Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission allowed licensed trappers to cull the monkey population. Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps. The local monkeys could easily be “rogue” males, without mates or the much reproductive potential. Now what? FWC says that is the likeliest route taken by the Northeast Florida monkeys. The troop of rhesus macaques were brought to Central Florida in the 1930s as part of a long-since closed attraction in the park. But without any strategy in place to slow their growth, Johnson said their numbers can be expected to increase. These kinds of choices “have to be based on a lot of different things including public sentiment, money, and the political climate,” says Anderson. The monkeys carry -- and shed -- the Herpes B virus, which can be fatal to humans. Enable JavaScript to see Google Maps. Rhesus macques carry disease that is potentially deadly to humans, How to Update Your Beauty and Style Routine for Fall (FCL Nov. 5), Shopping for a Rug Just Got Easier (FCL Nov. 5), Families evacuate flooded homes amid Eta flooding, First Coast Forecast: Showers return and keeping an eye on Eta, The Rise of Stetson Bennett: Part I and II, Where the invasive, herpes-carrying monkeys have been spotted so far in Florida, New feral monkey sightings on First Coast raising concerns, awareness , Florida’s herpes-carrying monkey population is booming. Parks’ grandmother Greta Mealey, who works for the DuMond Conservancy for Primates & Tropical Forests in Miami, says the monkeys pose little risk to humans. FULL MAP: Where the invasive, herpes-carrying monkeys have been spotted so far in Florida, RELATED: New feral monkey sightings on First Coast raising concerns, awareness . Texas man wanted for murder after body found in storage unit, Handcuffed Florida man walks out of police headquarters, French bulldog elected mayor of Kentucky town, Derailed metro train in the Netherlands saved from plunge by whale sculpture, Man arrested after stealing $65,000 worth of clothes from Hollister, American Eagle, police say. Monkey clones created in the lab. In 1984, the then-Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission allowed licensed trappers to cull the monkey population by trapping and hunting. Videos and photographs – grainy and shaky, shot by homeowners – track the trail of a species expansion that experts call concerning and possibly dangerous. Researchers estimate the monkey population in Silver Springs is around 200. Distribution Maps Species Information Tools & Training My EDDMapS About rhesus monkey Macaca mulatta (Zimmermann, 1780) This species is Introduced in the United States. Earlier this year, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that around 30 percent of these monkeys carry herpes B, a rare and highly virulent virus that can be deadly to humans. Johnson, who helped conduct Silver Spring’s recent primate population assessment, says that “they're cute and furry, and they invoke a lot of emotions, but [they’re] a non-native species in Florida, like feral pigs or Burmese pythons.” While the state encourages hunters to kill the latter two animals, which wreak havoc on native wildlife, the monkeys cannot be harmed. An introduced population of rhesus macaques proven to be carrying the dangerous herpes B virus resides in Silver Springs State Park, a popular tourist destination. Now what?). The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says feeding wild monkeys is illegal, and the animals can carry other diseases. Also read: Wild monkeys attack Florida family. It’s what Johnson calls a “low risk, high consequence” possibility. © 2020 Cox Media Group. The monkeys were originally part of a failed tourist attraction called Colonel Tooey's Jungle Cruise in the 1930s. I would like to see one [in person].”. The animals are also physically imposing with “strong arms, a very strong bite [and] large canine teeth.”, HOW DID THEY GET HERE? The local monkeys … Johnson’s research shows the Silver Springs monkeys actually frequent the river more often on weekends when park visitors – and their snacks -- are at their peak. “They’re not going to come up to us and interact with us. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Greta Mealey, who works for DuMond Conservancy for Primates & Tropical Forests in Miami, told FCN that the monkeys are not a major threat to humans. By that time, trappers with permits from the state had delivered more than 1,000 monkeys into the hands of biomedical researchers, much to the dismay of animal rights groups. By the 1980s, hundreds had spread out across the 5,000-acre park. (The agency did make it illegal to feed monkeys in 2017. It doesn’t appear the monkeys are going anywhere soon, however. The monkeys have lived in the state park ever since – alternately mesmerizing and terrifying parkgoers. “The potential ramifications are really dire,” University of Florida wildlife ecologist Dr. Steve Johnson told First Coat News. Can Trump run again in 2024 if he loses the 2020 presidential election? That’s right—Silver Spring State Park is home to at least 300 rhesus macaques, a monkey native to south and southeast Asia. "They've been there since the late '50s. ", Not near a TV? A dozen sightings have been confirmed of the feral species: the rhesus macaque. By using this website, you accept the terms of our Visitor Agreement and Privacy Policy, and understand your options regarding Ad Choices. By 1980 there were an estimated 400 macaques roaming the area around the river. A roving band of feral, herpes-ridden monkeys is roaming across northeast Florida. “It would take political will it would also take a lot of money. Julington Creek resident Carrie Bennett is admittedly wary of the primates.