Mystery Monkey Caught In Florida After 3 Years; Bites Woman Before Capture

By Amir Khan on October 25, 2012 11:43 AM EDT

Rhesus
The mystery monkey that has been roaming around St. Petersburg, Fla. has finally been caught, wildlife officers said on Wednesday. (Photo: Creative Commons)

The mystery monkey that has been roaming around St. Petersburg, Fla. has finally been caught, wildlife officers said on Wednesday. A team of wildlife officials and veterinarians trapped and tranquilized the rhesus macaque, something that needed to be done, they said.

"It was predictable that he was going to become emboldened,'' Don Woodman, the Safety Harbor veterinarian who shot the monkey with a tranquilizer gun, told the St. Petersburg's News Channel 8. "It was predictable that people were going to feed him. We did predict it. It was predictable that he was going to attack somebody.''

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Officials don't know when or how the monkey came to St. Petersburg, but they have been searching for this mystery monkey for three years, and as the years went on, the monkey's fame grew, with a Facebook page, countless news stories and even a segment on the "Colbert Report."

But the monkey became a normal part of life for St. Petersburg, and residents began feeding him. The mystery monkey began getting more aggressive, leaping at people and baring his teeth. Recently, the monkey bit a woman, forcing her to receive a painful rabies shot and causing officials to step up the search.

Officials captured the mystery monkey on Wednesday and checked it out in a vets office, giving it a clean bill of health. The woman who was bit said she doesn't hold a grudge against him either.

"I was worried because their last resort was going to be to put the monkey down; we didn't want to see that," Betsy Fowler said. "Because he is lonely."

The monkey will eventually be placed in a permanent shelter, officials said.

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