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Mystery monkey on the loose in Apopka

Rhesus macaque monkey spotted in tree

APOPKA, Fla. – A monkey is on the loose in Apopka.

Florida wildlife officials said the Rhesus macaque monkey was last seen Monday hanging from trees near Central Avenue.

"He was swinging from limb to limb!" witness Bobby Williams said.

The monkey could be an escaped pet but is likely a wild animal, said Chad Weber, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"I've seen them before in the zoo, something like that, but I never seen them around here before," said Louis Wilson, who lives in the area.

Weber said officials are not actively looking for the monkey, but the agency issued a "be on the lookout" bulletin out for the animal.

"I'm pretty sure that's not the right environment for the monkey. So I'm hoping somebody gets it and puts it in its natural habitat," said Ralph Schuler, who also saw the monkey.

A woman posted pictures to social media on Sunday after seeing the monkey on Michael Gladden Boulevard.

“I know we are used to seeing bears in our neighborhoods and I’ve even reported cows on the side of (State Road) 441, but today we saw a monkey,” she wrote on Facebook.

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FWC advises people to keep their distance from the monkey if they see it because it is a wild animal. Officials said residents should not try to capture it.

There is a small monkey population in Central Florida, including a few that escaped from Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Rhesus macaque monkeys have been living in Central Florida since 1930, according to the FWC.

The Rhesus macaque is native to Central and East Asia.

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About the Author:

Emilee Speck

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Previously, Emilee was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a producer at the Naples Daily News. Emilee is a Space Coast native and graduate of the University of North Florida journalism program.

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