TAMPA — Tampa police released an audio recording Monday of a series of 911 calls from people who reported seeing a monkey running loose Thanksgiving Day.
At least three people reported seeing the freewheeling primate running through backyards and woods along the banks of the Hillsborough River, near River Grove Drive and 40th Street.
"I was just sitting in my backyard and a monkey just ran through it," one man told a dispatcher. "Did someone lose a monkey at some point? ... It was a relatively large monkey, about the size of a relatively big dog or something."
Another caller reported seeing the monkey disappear into woods near the Hillsborough River dam.
Police fielded several reports of monkey sightings the same day along Sligh Avenue near Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. But zoo officials insisted the monkey was not one of theirs. The monkey remained at large Monday. Authorities warned residents not to approach the monkey if they see it.
The incident elicited comparisons to the so-called Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay, a male rhesus macaque who was seen repeatedly throughout Pinellas County between 2009 and 2012. The monkey's run came to an end when wildlife officials captured him in a St. Petersburg neighborhood in October 2012, about three weeks after he attacked and bit a woman.