Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Monkey continues to elude various attempts to capture him

ST. PETERSBURG — The rusty 4-foot-long metal trap sits near tall trees and lush bushes in a neighborhood near Lake Maggiore. It was installed after the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay bit a woman outside her home.

Three weeks later, the trap is still empty.

As wildlife officials puzzle over how to capture the monkey, residents have taken matters into their own hands.

On Friday, they placed a banana inside the cage. If the monkey steps on the metal plate at the bottom, the door will slam shut. Monkey captured.

The monkey, of course, had other plans. He carefully reached inside, snatched the banana, then slipped away.

They tried again Sunday.

This time, two bananas were bound to the back of the cage and a string was tied to the trap door.

Residents waited. Soon, the monkey climbed down a tree and entered the cage.

The string was pulled. But right before the door shut tight, the monkey forced it open and scampered into the woods.

He hasn't gone near the cage since.

"He's not going anywhere," said Dr. Agustin Fuentes, a primate expert at the University of Notre Dame. "For him, it's probably fun. It's probably a challenge. . . . They are making it fun for him."

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials soon will employ a new strategy to capture the rhesus macaque that has eluded them for about three years.

They recruited wildlife rescuer Vernon Yates.

Yates will install a larger cage, 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. Inside will be Doc, a 1-year-old macaque, in a smaller cage, along with some food.

"I think the lure of the monkey will just be more than he can handle," Yates said. "Whether it's to say hi to him or kill him, one way or the other, he's going to get to that monkey."

It is unlikely that the monkeys will be able to harm one another as the cage is constructed with mesh small enough to prevent them from having physical contact, Yates said.

Wildlife officials did not disclose the location of the new trap or when it will be placed, but Yates said Doc will be in the cage only under his watch in the early morning hours, when the Mystery Monkey is most active.

Yates said the trap is likely to work, adding that it hasn't been implemented before because residents have hidden the monkey's location for years.

"It wasn't that he out-tricked us," he said. "If the people don't want to give him up, you can't do much about it."

The monkey's location was revealed this month when he bit a 60-year-old woman outside her home.

Trappers have tried tranquilizers in the past, but that failed.

Officials now are focusing on cages because the monkey appears to remain in the same area.

They will not stop leaving traps until he is captured, said wildlife commission spokesman Baryl Martin.

If Doc can't lure the monkey in, local officials will turn to other wildlife experts in Tallahassee for guidance, Martin said.

"We definitely cannot just let the animal be," he said. "It poses a danger to the general public. It needs to be captured."

On Tuesday morning, the monkey rattled branches above a house and climbed onto the roof.

He sat down and stared into space for a moment.

Then he dashed into the woods and was gone.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at (727)893-8713, or [email protected]

Comments
The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.   • Get ready for a wet morning as the forecast calls for scattered showers and storms to start the day. There could even be thundershowers and lightning out there, according to...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade. "I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "Tha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 7 hours ago
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic star was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of making the NBA.Knox wa...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 7 hours ago