CBS News reports:
Wild monkeys spotted in parts of Florida have prompted authorities to issue warnings about the primates, urging people to not feed or attempt to capture the animals. One photo, shared by the Orange City Police Department on Wednesday, shows a monkey sitting on a green chainlink fence.
The monkey was identified as a wild Rhesus Macaques monkey, the department said. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, these monkeys “pose a variety of environmental and human health concerns,” and some of the monkeys in Florida have tested positive for herpes B.
In an earlier post, the department said that they had received “multiple calls” related to monkey sightings within the city. The department urged residents to call the commission if they “come in contact with a monkey.”
From a similar warning issued in 2020:
An invasive species of herpes-carrying monkeys is growing in size, raising the possibility of confrontations with humans and expansion of the non-native primates’ range beyond an idyllic river in Florida. On the banks of the Silver River near Ocala, the rhesus macaques shriek, grunt and squeal as they fight and defend their space in an increasingly crowded habitat not their own.
By 2022, the monkey population on the Silver River is estimated to double, according to research co-authored by Steve Johnson, a University of Florida professor of wildlife ecology and conservation.
From 1984 to 2012, about 1,000 monkeys were removed or sterilized through permits issued by the state. But since 2012, the Department of Environmental Protection stopped issuing removal permits when it became known that trapped monkeys wound up at research facilities.
Fort Lauderdale also has a colony of wild monkeys, but those are a different species descended from the ones that escaped from a primate testing lab in the late 1940s.
The monkeys that live along the Silver River near Ocala are there due to a decades-ago tourism stunt that went exactly as nature would have it.
So far there’s been no reporting that Fort Lauderdale’s colony of African green monkeys also may carry herpes.
Monkey-to-human herpes transmission through biting is extremely rare, but is potentially fatal. The local papers do love these stories, though.
Wild monkeys spotted in parts of Florida have prompted authorities to issue warnings about the primates, urging people to not feed or attempt to capture the animals. https://t.co/cU8YNSOk2E
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 24, 2023
— New York Post (@nypost) January 3, 2020
— IFLScience (@IFLScience) February 27, 2020