(ConservativeInsider.org) – Orange City, Florida is currently dealing with a simian problem — a wild monkey has been spotted roaming around the city.
Pictures of the monkey have been shared on various social media platforms, where users were able to identify the monkey as a rhesus macaque.
The Orange City Police Department has been called repeatedly about sightings of the primate, but by the time they arrive at the area where it was seen, the monkey has already moved on. Officials do not know where the monkey came from, as no one has reported one missing. Officials are also unaware if there is only one monkey on the loose, or multiple creatures. From the pictures that have been shared, wildlife officials believe it is likely one adult male rhesus monkey, likely from the state park in Silver Springs, where a population of monkeys live.
Rhesus macaques are native to Southeast Asia, ranging from China to Afghanistan. However, in the 1930’s, a local boat captain released a group of rhesus monkeys in north-central Florida to attract tourists, while researchers released another group in the 1970’s in the Florida Keys, which had devastating consequences for mangroves in the area. Monkeys of this type are also known to decimate native bird populations by stealing and eating eggs.
Wildlife officials urge the public to not feed or interact with the primate in any way, namely due to the risk of disease monkeys carry and the potential for aggression towards humans. While small, rhesus macaques can be dangerous. They pose a risk of rabies, e. Coli, and Herpes B. Herpes B is a rare viral infection that can lead to death or severe brain damage if not immediately treated.
According to the wildlife commission, there have been 18 reported incidents of wild monkeys biting or scratching someone in Florida, though there have not been any confirmed cases of Herpes B transmissions from monkeys to humans.
Feeding wild monkeys is also a second-class misdemeanor in Florida, which is punishable with up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Copyright 2023, ConservativeInsider.org