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Possibly rabid monkey on the loose in Gainesville

FWC officials believes primate is patas monkey

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Authorities are searching for a monkey that was caught on camera swinging through trees in east Gainesville, WJXT-TV reports.

"I was excited to see it because I've never seen a monkey in the 'hood, so we are going to call it the 'hood monkey,'" said Al Wells. 

Wells is just one of dozens of people transfixed by the hunt for what is believed to be a patas monkey.  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation crews spent Thursday trying to trap the monkey.

"I've seen the monkey in the fence behind Gardenia. Then the police were chasing him and they got him up in a tree. Don't know if they caught him or not," said Wells.

FWC is still trying to figure out where the monkey came from. Wildlife officials said nearby Santa Fe Zoo has no reports of missing monkeys.

"Could be an escapee," said Karen Parker with FWC. "We did have a patas monkey running around the Williston area last year. I've got to get with an investigator to see if anyone reported a missing monkey."

FWC is asking the public to not to approach the monkey because they say the monkey could carry rabies.  Residents said they also have concerns about their fruit disappearing.

"We have an orange tree in the back yard and there are a lot of fruits we couldn't get down, and I'm missing a lot of food," said one neighbor.