A Patas monkey has been spotted in the Gainesville area in a block of woods near Waldo and 8th Avenue. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking for the public’s assistance if the animal is spotted.
“Thursday afternoon, FWC officers set a trap for the animal near where it was feeding off a homeowner’s fruit trees,” said Maj. Roy Brown, FWC regional commander. “We are asking that the public not approach this animal or attempt to feed it or catch it.
“These monkeys are called the ‘greyhounds’ of the primate world,” Brown said. “They can run about 35 mph.”
Officials are still attempting to determine where the monkey came from and are checking to see if anyone in the area has a permit for the animal.
According to officials, Patas monkeys, which are ground-dwellers, can grow to approximately 3 feet tall, not including the tail. The animal can 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.
The FWC classifies captive wildlife in different categories, depending on the danger the animal can present. The Patas monkey is a Class II animal that requires substantial experience to handle with specific cage requirements. Other Class II animals include badgers, wolverines, alligators, wolves and clouded leopards.
“From this list, you can see why we are asking that the public not attempt to approach the animal,” Brown said. “This monkey isn’t showing any aggressive behavior and has run away when approached, but we don’t want anyone attempting to get close to it.”
If the trapping effort is a success and the animal is caught, it will be transferred to a permitted facility, where it will receive the proper care.
Officials are asking the public to report sightings of this monkey to the Wildlife Alert toll-free number, 888-404-3922, or to call the FWC regional office in Lake City at 386-758-0525.