As if pythons and the unremitting stranglehold of kudzu killing North American species wasn’t enough, Florida is now dealing with another Asian invader. Rhesus macaques monkeys from the Silver Springs State Park are oppressing families and native wildlife in Florida.
Aggressive, disease carrying monkeys are overrunning Ocala, and one man hasof the invasive species on film. Brian Pritchard’s property is located about four miles from the state park. Over the last few days, his outdoor camera has captured images of over 50 monkeys eating from the deer feeder in his back yard.
The Park recently closed off two visitor areas because of monkey attacks. The unrestrained population of rhesus macaques interlopers have been responsible for 18 confirmed reports of biting and scratching.
The violent attacks aren’t just a nuisance. The furry troop carries the herpes B virus, presenting a real danger to public health and native species. University of Florida researchers placed fake bird eggs and nest around the monkey zones and discovered that the little primates were feasting on Florida’s fowl. Without any natural predators, the population has flourished.
A family vacation to the park turned frightening when Susie Ramsey and her children were confronted by the tribe of angry apes. In the video taken and narrated by her son, the monkeys become agitated and begin chasing the family, hissing and baring their teeth.
Although the monkeys didn’t throw excrement, they are still filthy and their size doesn’t indicate their strength. Those little monkey paws and fangs can cause real damage, and the epidemic has garnered attention from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
There are a few liberal animal activists who claim that the monkey attack was the fault of the family. How they justify the destruction of native wildlife from an invasive species that is supposed to exist half a globe away no one can say. Essentially, those folks live in a make-believe world. Floridians who live in the real world face a serious threat. Herpes B is deadly.
The monkeys don’t belong here. They shouldn’t be here. However, the myth that they escaped from a Tarzan film isn’t accurate. The invasive species, like almost all Asian varieties, was purposely brought to the U.S. back in the ‘30s and ‘40s. A boat tour operator had the brilliant idea of bringing in a dozen monkeys, and by the 1980s, the little band had grown to approximately 400.
At that time, Florida opened trapping, which reduced the population by about half. More than 200 animals were transported for biomedical research and another 20 females were sterilized to prevent the spread. However, the number of exiting animals has grown since then. Rangers estimate there are still about 200 in the area, but Pritchard thinks that number is low.
Pritchard’s pictures show the monkey invasion. They have figured out how to distribute the food he’s placed in a deer feeder, and are consuming about $50 worth each day. It’s like they have their own little social gathering with free food.
“Obviously the monkeys have it down pat. They don’t have to wait on it. They climb up the poles and they just sit there and spin it off the plate,” Pritchard said.
In a scene that would rival Hitchcock in its creepiness, the monkeys just materialize around the feeder, and Pritchard said they eerily watched the shed where he was situated, as if they could smell his presence.
Although the monkeys are a wasteful tribe, Pritchard said that he will live and let live. That is, of course, unless the animals bother his children. He reported that another friend who lives about 20 miles away is also having the same problem. Pritchard’s friend saw approximately 30 monkeys scrounging for food near his place.
Regardless of what happens at Pritchard’s home, the species needs to be removed. The delicate balance of the ecosystem in Florida is reeling under Asian intruders and needs to be corrected.
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