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We have mixed feelings about yesterday’s capture of the “Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay.” The monkey, a rhesus macaque, first made headlines in 2009. The suburbs of Tampa/St. Petersburg are not the best place for a wild monkey to live, but he was in good health, local residents enjoyed having him around and, until recently, he didn’t cause any problems (on Oct. 8, a woman in St. Pete reported being bit by the monkey). The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has promised that if the monkey is determined to be disease-free, he will be sent to live at a sanctuary.

The monkey may be a former “pet” or an escapee from one of the facilities in Florida where monkeys are bred for research, but the most common theory is that he had been cast out of the colony of free-ranging monkeys who live along the Silver River in Marion County. If that’s true, his relatives also are in danger of losing their freedom, and worse.

Last Winter, ARFF learned that monkeys who live in Silver River State Park and elsewhere along the river were being trapped by a company that sells animals to be used in experimentation and testing.

You Can Help
It is a tragedy that wild monkeys from Marion County are torn from their families and forest homes and sold to laboratories. Once wild and free, these sensitive and intelligent animals will end their lives in labs where pain and suffering are routine. Please contact the Florida Park Service and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and demand an end to the trapping of monkeys for the research industry at Silver River State Park and other state lands.

Contact:

Donald Forgione, Director
Florida Park Service
Online comment form (select “Silver River State Park” from the drop-down list)

Please copy your comments to the Florida DEP:

Herschel T. Vinyard Jr., Secretary
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Online comment form (select “Recreation & Parks” from the drop-down list)

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