Call it the “War For The Planet of the Apes Florida Edition.”
Groups of feral rhesus macaque monkeys are roaming Central Florida and scaring people by acting aggressively, the Associated Press reported.
One such encounter happened at Silver Springs State Park on June 29 when a group of the monkeys attacked a family.
A young child taking video of the monkeys initially thinks they are cute and his entire family walks among the animals nonchalantly.
But minutes later they start screaming as the monkeys went bananas and started chasing them.
“The monkeys are attacking,” the boy yelled.
“The monkeys are attacking us… oh my God, guys we just got attacked by monkeys… run, run,” he shouted.
Susie Ramsey, the child’s mother, told KSHB that her son found the attack hilarious, but an attack by the sharp fanged monkeys can be dangerous.
“It was like, ‘Oh cool look at the monkeys,’ then all of a sudden, ‘Oh my God, our lives are in danger!’” she said. “We did not do anything to provoke this.”
The monkeys were brought to the park in 1939, when it was privately owned, from their native Asia as a way to attract tourists, the AP reported.
Six additional monkeys were brought in in 1948.
The rhesus macaque were put on an island in Silver River but it didn’t take long for them to swim to other areas and spread across Central Florida.
“They’re a very adaptable species,” University of Florida wildlife biologist Steve Johnson “It’s no surprise they’ve succeeded in spreading as much as they have.”
According to USA Today, the monkeys are spreading well beyond the park:
Scientists estimate there are 200 primates in Silver Springs State Park alone. Another 72 have been sighted around Central Florida and the Florida Panhandle, from rural Franklin County in the Panhandle to posh Sarasota on the Gulf Coast.
It is advised to not make eye contact with the monkeys, as they see it as a sign of aggression, and can do severe injury to humans, according to KSHB.
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