Monkey population spreading into Central Florida, UF biologists say


  • Photo by jinterwas via Flickr
A group of rhesus macaques, a monkey population native to Asia, has lived at Silver Springs State Park for about 75 years, but lately they've been spotted farther from home than usual. 

University of Florida biologists say monkeys have been reported as far as Lady Lake and The Villages in Lake County, about 30 miles away from Silver Springs, the Associated Press reports. The monkey colony at Silver Springs is currently made up of about 200 monkeys. 

"It would not be surprising as the population grows to see males disperse outside of the park," says biologist Steve Johnson. 

Perhaps the most famous rhesus macaque in Florida is Cornelius, also known as Tampa Bay's Mystery Monkey, who eluded capture for four years. Some speculate Cornelius was forced out of monkey colony in Silver Springs.