Loose monkey spotted hanging out near Florida bakery

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   April 25, 2017 at 9:21 AM

April 25 (UPI) -- Residents of a Florida town are being warned to steer clear of a monkey seen swinging from trees and climbing a fence near a bakery.

Residents of Apopka, an Orlando suburb, said the monkey was last spotted swinging from some trees near Central Ave. Monday, and Keri Locke captured photos about 8:30 a.m. Sunday when she spotted the Rhesus macaque jumping up on a fence near the Max and Me Jamaican Bakery.

"I knew it was some sort of animal, and it turned and looked at us, and we were just in complete shock!" Locke told WOFL-TV. "We never thought we'd be seeing a monkey in the middle of the city!"

"It just kind of sat there. We took the pictures and video, and then it turned around and ran to the back of the building!" Locke said.

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

The monkeys, native to Asia, are thought to be related to a group of monkeys brought to Silver Springs State Park in the 1930s as part of a river cruise attraction.

The University of Florida estimates up to 200 of the monkeys live in the region currently.

Officials are warning Apopka residents to steer clear of the loose monkey.

"People should NOT APPROACH OR FEED monkeys," Florida Fish & Wildlife spokeswoman Susan Smith wrote today in an email to the Orlando Sentinel. "Avoid contact and observe only from a safe distance."

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