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Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay caught: What's next for captured Mystery Monkey

8:41 AM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- The mystery monkey's view will now go from tall trees to tall bars.

He'll be in a cage for the next thirty days to make sure he's healthy.

If he checks out ok -- and all signs so far indicate that he will -- he'll likely head to a wildlife sanctuary.

Photo Gallery: Pictures of the monkey on the loose
More Pictures: First pics of the monkey in captivity

There, he'll finally be with his own kind, after almost four lonely years. And -- better news -- he'll be there with female monkeys, finding a potential mate.

There's a lot of emotion involved here.

When you watch exclusive video you'll see only on 10, recorded inside a Safety Harbor animal hospital, the monkey is tranquilized and looks pretty strange.

He's safe and fine, but he is out of it -- laying still, breathing evenly, and looking through barely-opened eyelids.

After he bit a woman in St. Petersburg, state officers decided they had to bring the monkey in.

Experts tried traps with banana bait and other methods for weeks.

Wednesday, a team of wildlife experts lured the monkey close, then shot him with a tranquilizer dart.

An emotional, exhausting chase that covered dozens of miles and almost four years finally ended with the monkey alive and safe. The monkey was a mystery no more.

"From day one, I was always in fear that he would get killed," wildlife expert Vernon Yates said, holding back tears.

"I did not want to find him dead in a car, I did not want to find him burned in power lines. I didn't want to find him shot and killed because he hurt somebody.

"He can't go back home to his native land, so he has to get locked up. Do I like it? Not really. What's the alternative? Death."

Yates, through his nonprofit Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation shelter, has worked with Florida Fish and Wildlife officers for years tracking the monkey across Tampa Bay.

There are several potential sanctuaries that may take in the monkey, Yates said.

Yates says he got death threats from folks who wanted the monkey to stay on the run. But he said he knew that would one day lead to the monkey's death through an accident or someone's actions.

The monkey is probably a descendant of monkeys used in Tarzan movies that were filmed at Silver Springs near Ocala, Yates said.

This monkey may have been forced from his colony by a dominant male monkey, and has been looking for a permanent home ever since.

 


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