Wild monkeys with herpes in Central Florida

As if Florida didn't have enough to contend with...with alligators, meth heads, pythons and more...now we have wild monkeys with HERPES on the loose in Central Florida. And their population is rapidly growing!

A group of rhesus macaques (pron: REE-sus mah-COX) were brought to Central Florida in the 1930s as part of a long-since closed attraction in Silver Spring State Park. They were placed on a small island, but the monkeys didn’t stay there.

Marion County wildlife officials say that the monkeys carry a herpes virus that could be DEADLY to humans, and is transmitted by bites and scratches.

“People should never approach these animals,” said University of Florida professor Steve Johnson, who was part of a team that spent years studying the monkeys. “People shouldn’t feed them. It’s not legal to feed them anymore.”

“By the year 2022, there are probably going to be around 400 animals,” Johnson said.

Johnson said at some point, the state will be forced to decide what to do with the animals.

Below is a video of the monkeys on the loose in a public park in 2017. I hope this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway...if you ever see wild monkeys, DON'T APPROACH THEM.  I'm not interested in contracting deadly monkey herpes, and I hope you feel the same way.


Sarah Jacobs

Sarah Jacobs

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