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Wed Mar 30, 2022, 04:53 PM

Monkeys Near Florida Airport Becoming Simian Celebrities

As departing jetliners roared overhead, an aging vervet monkey moped on a mangrove branch one recent afternoon in the woods he inhabits near a South Florida airport, his ego bruised.

Mikey, as he is called by his human observers, has long been the laid-back alpha male of a troop of monkeys ruling this tract of land, tucked off a busy runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. But this day he lost when challenged by a feisty youngster called Spike. Mikey fled screaming and was now sullenly staring at humans watching him from 15 feet (4 meters) away.

“Did you have a bad day?” asks Deborah “Missy” Williams, a Lynn University science professor who has been studying the troop and others nearby since 2014. She is also founder of the Dania Beach Vervet Project, which seeks to preserve this unique colony. “We will leave you alone so you can ponder.”

The United States has no native monkeys, but the smallish vervets have roamed Dania Beach since the late 1940s after a dozen brought from West Africa fled a now long-closed breeding facility and roadside zoo. Today, 40 descendants are broken into four troops living within 1,500 acres (600 hectares) around the airport. Florida also has a few colonies of escaped macaques and squirrel monkeys.

Florida wildlife officials often kill invasive species to protect native animals. But they tolerate the vervets, if they stay put. The monkeys are local celebrities, their travails detailed by TV and newspapers, and popular visitors with nearby workers, who feed them despite signs saying that’s illegal.


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Reply Monkeys Near Florida Airport Becoming Simian Celebrities (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Mar 2022 OP
Anon-C Mar 2022 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Mar 2022 #2

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Wed Mar 30, 2022, 04:59 PM

1. Aw.

I thought that love was only true in fairy tales!

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Response to Anon-C (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 30, 2022, 05:11 PM

2. I see what you did there. NT

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