Saturday, October 27, 2012
By Miles Doran
(CBS News) ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. The monkey that has evaded Florida wildlife officials for more than three years has been caught.
Wildlife officials nabbed the monkey Wednesday afternoon after a five-hour stakeout near a wooded area in a south St. Petersburg neighborhood.
"We concealed ourselves in the area," said Baryl Martin, spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, "and we waited for the monkey to approach."
Then the monkey was shot with a tranquilizer dart.
Martin, along with wildlife trapper Vernon Yates and a veterinarian, waited for the effects of the tranquilizer to set in. But the monkey made a run for it.
"When we got closer it tried to evade us," Martin said. "We chased it about 50 to 100 yards."
The trio briefly chased the monkey through the woods before Yates grabbed it with his hand and a catch pole.
"He settled down quite a bit after we got our hands on him," Martin said.
The monkey was placed in a cage and taken to an area veterinarian's office for evaluation and testing.
The Rhesus Macaque achieved notoriety in the Tampa Bay area after repeatedly managing to elude wildlife officials since 2009. The chase, which spanned at least three counties, has been chronicled by local and national media.
About a year ago, the monkey seemed to find a new home in a wooded area in south St. Petersburg where protective neighbors fed him bananas and refused to give up his location to authorities.
Attempts to capture the monkey were escalated two weeks ago after the monkey scratched and bit a resident of the neighborhood. Traps with bananas were set, but the monkey managed to steal the bananas without getting caught.
"In some ways I'll give him credit," Yates told CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman last week. "He knows not to get up into power lines. He'll run to a road, he stops and looks both ways for traffic before he runs across it. This is one of the most intelligent monkeys that I think I have ever seen."