News Releases

Patas monkey sighted in Williston

News Release

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

A Patas monkey has been spotted in the Williston area in a block of woods between County Road 318 and 217th Court.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking for the public's assistance if the animal is spotted, because the monkey can be dangerous to anyone who might try to handle it.

"So far, capture techniques have proved to be ineffective," said Maj. Lee Beach, FWC regional commander. "We are asking that the public not approach this animal or attempt to feed it."

FWC personnel did set a trap for the monkey, but the animal proved to be elusive. Darting is also problematic because of the speed and agility of the animal.

"These monkeys are called the 'greyhounds' of the primate world," Beach said. "They can run about 35 mph. If we were able to get a dart in the animal, we could lose it in the woods."

According to officials, Patas monkeys, which are ground-dwellers, can grow to approximately 3 feet tall, not including the tail, and weigh up to 30 pounds. The body, limbs, feet and hands are long and slim. It has a dark face with a white mustache and beard.

"Another physical feature is that they have 2-inch canine teeth," Beach said.

The FWC classifies captive wildlife in different categories, according the danger the animal can present. The Patas monkey is a Class II animal, which requires substantial experience to handle, and it has specific cage requirements. Other Class II animals include badgers, wolverines, alligators, wolves and clouded leopards.

"From this list, you can see why we believe the monkey could hurt someone and why we are asking that the public not approach the animal," Beach said.

Officials are asking the public to report sightings of this monkey to the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922, or call the FWC regional office in Lake City at 386-758-0525.

"We're also asking for reports if this animal is found dead, so we can close this investigation," Beach said.



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