Mystery monkeys pose problem in Florida

State says trappers can no longer sell rhesus macaques monkeys to labs

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SILVER SPRINGS, Fla. - Officials say a trapper will no longer be allowed to snare wild monkeys from a central Florida state park and sell them to research laboratories.

A Department of Environmental Protection spokesman told the Tampa Bay Times the agency is looking for other ways to deal with the invasive species.

Trapper Scott Cheslak has captured about 700 of the rhesus macaques monkeys with state permission over the past decade.

The monkeys are a popular sight for tourists at the Silver River State Park. They have been in the area since the 1930s, though no one is certain exactly how they arrived.

State officials worry the monkeys could pose a health threat to humans because most of the ones Cheslak has captured tested positive for herpes-B, which can be fatal.

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