Thursday, February 21, 2008


It’s Instinct: In Florida, Monkeys Balk At Rules

”’The trouble with the monkeys at Silver Springs,” says Linda Wolfe, professor of anthropology at the University of Florida, ”is that they don’t know they are in Florida. They think they’re somewhere in Southern Asia and they go looking for other monkeys.”

Instinct has led members of the rhesus monkey colony living in a semiwild state at the Silver Springs tourist attraction into brushes with the law that have turned into a life and death struggle. [..]

The problem began when agitated young male monkeys, rejected as suitors by females, set out to find companions elsewhere.

But very few rhesus monkeys live in Florida, which is not their natural habitat, and the male monkeys’ searches became long, lonely forays into the surrounding countryside.

In recent years, stray monkeys have been found in the streets and parks of the nearby city of Ocala foraging in garbage cans, according to investigators for the game commission, which regulates the 300 wildlife exhibits in the state. [..]

”We have reports of monkeys turning up 120 miles away from Silver Springs and we have documented 17 known attacks,” said Capt. Kyle Hill, chief inspector for the commission.’

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