SEMINOLE — It's official: Cornelius, the rhesus macaque formerly known as the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay, will be moved to a zoo in Pasco County early next week.
The move is taking place after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials visited wildlife rescuer Vernon Yates on Thursday at his Seminole facility to officially hand over custody of the rhesus macaque.
Cornelius was captured Oct. 24 in a St. Petersburg neighborhood near Lake Maggiore, about three weeks after he bit a woman outside her home.
Yates said he will take Cornelius to Dade City's Wild Things, his new permanent home, early next week.
A larger, temporary cage and a female companion are waiting for Cornelius at the zoo.
"It's all done," said zoo director Kathy Stearns. "Complete and ready to go."
Once Cornelius is at the zoo, he will remain alone for some time to adjust to his new surroundings, Stearns said. When he's settled in, a female macaque will be placed with him. Other female macaques may also keep Cornelius company later.
Wildlife officials also visited Dade City's Wild Things on Thursday to inspect the new cage and make sure it complies with requirements, said spokesman Baryl Martin.
Laura C. Morel can be reached at (727)893-8713, or [email protected]