Monkey shenanigans on rise at Florida state park

2 walking areas closed at Silver Springs State Park in Marion County

SILVER SPRINGS, Fla. - There's an upswing in monkey business in and around a state park in Florida, where troops of non-native rhesus macaques live along a river that's popular with kayakers and tourists.

Officials have closed two walking areas at Silver Springs State Park in Marion County because of unwanted monkey interactions with park guests. An observation deck and a boardwalk are off-limits because the primates have essentially taken over.

Matt Mitchell, the assistant director of Florida State Parks, said rangers check areas each morning for monkey activity.

Researchers estimate up to 200 wild rhesus macaques live at the park, and an unknown number live outside the area.

Park rangers try to warn visitors not to feed the 20-pound, 2-foot-tall mammals and are stepping up patrols in sections where there are high possibilities of monkey-human interaction.

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