Monkey mischief: Wild monkey sightings raise concerns in central Florida city
The Orange City Police Department said they have received multiple calls reporting monkey sightings around the city. It remains unclear how many monkeys have been seen
August 24, 2023 10:24pm
Updated: August 24, 2023 10:24pm
Wild monkey sightings have increased throughout Orange City, Florida, prompting officials to issue a warning and urge residents to keep a “safe distance.”
The Orange City Police Department said they have received multiple calls reporting monkey sightings around the city. It remains unclear how many monkeys have been seen.
On Wednesday morning, a viral video shows a monkey that was spotted outside a Popeyes on Enterprise Road. The monkey was spotted by a customer passing through the drive-thru window at around 9:30 a.m.
"I look over and I'm like, ‘Is this real? This cannot be possible,’" Popeyes employee Kimberly Bialobos told FOX 35. "The monkey’s smart because he looked at the traffic and he knew not to go that way.
According to Bialobos, the monkey appeared to know how to navigate around the busy streets before disappearing from sight.
"This is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Not only working here. In my life. This is pretty crazy."
About two hours later, the Orange County City Police Department said they received multiple calls reporting a monkey roaming the city’s streets.
"The sightings began like a week ago but we haven't been able to actually locate it," Orange City police Lt. Sherif El-Shami told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The monkeys were identified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) as a wild rhesus macaque monkey, police said in a statement.
The rhesus macaque is a “nonnative species in Florida and is not protected except by anti-cruelty law.” It is unclear where the monkey or monkeys came from. However, there have been no reports of missing monkeys.
Officials are warning the public to refrain from trying to capture or feed the monkeys, since rhesus macaques “may become aggressive” when fed. Instead, police are asking to call the FWC’s hotline to report any sightings.