July 22, 2014

Critters - Florida Newsmakers of the Year

Mystery Monkey

Cynthia Barnett | 1/1/2011

• MYSTERY MONKEY
Tampa Bay

The Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay remained on the lam and in the news in 2010. The brown, 15-pound rhesus macaque dodged wildlife officials, traffic, banana-baited traps and a dozen tranquilizer darts as it made its way south through at least three Bay area counties. Wildlife officials believe the monkey may have been cast out from a wild monkey tribe in central Florida or was released or escaped from an owner who was keeping him illegally. The monkey was featured on the "Colbert Report" and followed by legions of fans, including more than 81,000 "friends" on a Facebook page. Toward year's end, a more melancholy story emerged, as the monkey took up residence in a south Pinellas County neighborhood and was photographed gazing sadly at himself in a mirror. Was he sick of roaming — or just lonely for a primate partner?

Mystery Monkey photo by Don McBride
The Mystery Monkey, who has more than 81,000 friends on Facebook, gazes at its reflection in a mirror. [Photo: Don McBride]

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