Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel Wednesday captured the elusive rhesus macaque monkey that had been roaming the Tampa Bay area for nearly three years.
A team including FWC staff, a veterinarian and wildlife trapper hit the monkey at Country Club Way South and Fairway Avenue South in St. Petersburg with a tranquilizer dart.
"It's important to remove exotic, invasive wildlife and other wildlife that poses a threat to people and the natural environment," said Maj. Dennis Post, regional commander for the FWC Southwest Region. "There has already been one documented bite from this monkey."
Rhesus macaques are powerful monkeys capable of seriously injuring an adult human. They also can carry the simian herpes-B virus, which can be transmitted to humans. Untreated scratches, bites or cuts from an infected animal could prove fatal.
"The urban environment of Tampa Bay is not the monkey's natural habitat and posed a threat to its health," Post said.
The monkey will undergo veterinary evaluations and be placed in an appropriate facility.