Monkey Watch: More sightings in St. Petersburg

8:14 PM, Mar 22, 2010   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- The elusive monkey has been spotted again! A St. Petersburg woman says she saw a monkey swinging from a tree yesterday and taking a dip in her pool and even stealing something.

Kate Mitchell is from New York, but while visiting her parents this weekend her father received an email from a neighbor about some missing fruit.

"They had some fruit in a bucket in the backyard and in the past few days, they notice that a bucket had been turn over and the fruit has been missing so I guess the mystery has been solved when they saw the monkey in the backyard," said Mitchell.

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Mitchell and her boyfriend went on a monkey hunt and found it a couple houses away in a tree.

"It was much bigger than I expected. I had heard about this story from my mom and I thought it was going to be small, but it was huge."

Mitchell attempted to take a picture of the monkey, but just couldn't click fast enough.

"He was pretty quick and by the time we got our cameras, he had leapt off the roof," Mitchell said.

The latest sighting of this monkey was in South St. Petersburg, but experts say the primate has great range and probably originated in Ocala.

"I've been chasing this monkey for a little over a year and he's migrated from Hudson, he migrated to Clearwater, Temple Terrace and Tampa," said Vernon Yates, founder of Wildlife Rescue in Seminole, Florida.

Yates has shot the monkey several times with a tranquilizer gun. "We've hit him numerous times and he goes somewhere and sleeps it off," Yates said.

Yates says it getting to be expensive tracking this monkey down.

"We've had sheriff's department helicopters involved, financially there's been thousands of dollars already spent on this thing." 

In this economy, you have to wonder if it's time to stop monkeying around.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking anyone one who spots the monkey to stay clear of the animal. If you see the animal, call the FWC at 1-888-404-3922.

Melvin Beal, 10 Connects

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