A thousand monkeys, free in Florida

You can’t go wrong getting attention with such an attention-grabbing headline:

Herpes-infected monkeys terrorize Florida | New York Post.

Hundreds of rare wild monkeys — some carrying herpes — are on the loose in Florida after a tour guide brought the spunky critters to the state long ago.

Wildlife officials said that three pairs of Rhesus monkeys were transported to a park near Ocala in the 1930s by tour operator Colonel Tooey after a “Tarzan” flick sparked a fascination with the creature.
But the breed has since boomed and more than 1,000 of the monkeys now live in the state, wildlife officials say.

State officials have caught more than 700 of the monkeys in the past decade — most of which tested positive for the herpes-B virus.

That’s just great. One tour operator says everyone wants to see them and thinks that they are just fine in their adopted home. No, not really. This is NOT natural; introduced species can become invasive or cause an upset in the ecosystem at the detriment to other animals. It was irresponsible to import them and now look at this mess. But, now I will more quickly believe people when they say they saw a monkey in Florida!

Tip: Bob Blaskiewicz

  7 comments for “A thousand monkeys, free in Florida

  1. Chris Howard
    September 13, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Herpes infected monkeys! Well, I guess Florida is the place for that. I wonder how many have a cocaine problem?

  2. Nos482
    September 14, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    Don’t worry, the pythons ‘ll get them…

  3. Brian
    September 14, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Don’t worry, monkeys! Sen. Rubio will get you amnesty!

  4. Dave Sharp
    September 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    I’ll believe this when someone other than the NY Post runs the story. So far a brief search hasn’t turned up anything.

  5. September 14, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Anyone ever visit “The Monkey Jungle” near Miami? I just verified that it’s still around (I last visited it many years ago): http://www.monkeyjungle.com/

    Anyway, I remember a guide there who told us that the neighboring farms would complain because monkeys would regularly wander off (maybe through holes in the fences?) and raid their farms. The last time I was there, it must have been around 15 or 20 years ago or so.

  6. September 15, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    A thousand free monkeys is quite an offer. I would urge people on Florida to take it up.

  7. September 17, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    I looked up the herpes that these monkeys have. This is not your run of the mill cold sore or genital blister. It’s Herpes B which can kill people. “…when humans are zoonotically infected with B virus, patients can present with severe central nervous system disease, resulting in permanent neurological dysfunction or death. ”

    So… yeah. Avoid the monkeys. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_B_virus

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