Wild primates in Florida park: Monkey shenanigans on rise

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — There’s an upswing in monkey business in and around a state park in Florida, where bands 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 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 anywhere from 150 to 200 wild rhesus macaques live at the park and an unknown number live outside.

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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