Looking for love in all the wrong places, a young male rhesus macaque monkey was discovered in a tree in Pasco County this morning.
"He probably decided that he wanted to breed some of the females and the older male kicked his butt out and sent him out of the troop," said Vernon Yates of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.
Named Valentine, because of the day of his capture, experts believe he was likely looking for a date.
"If he was in Asia where he belongs, he would have merely went and joined another troop. But here they have no other troop to go to," Yates said.
If this sounds familiar, it is. A mystery monkey named Cornelius tricked trappers and posed for photos in St. Petersburg for years until he was captured in 2012. The "Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay," made headlines around the world. Chances are, Cornelius and Valentine are cousins.
"I'm sure he's another Silver Springs monkey," Yates said.
Silver Springs, in the Ocala area, has a large colony of rhesus macaque monkeys. They were brought to the area for a Tarzan movie shoot decades ago.
Yates, along with Florida Fish and Wildlife officers and Veterinarian Dr. Don Woodman from Animal Hospital of Northwood in Safety Harbor, found Valentine high above a swamp, sitting in a cypress tree. Wading in waste deep water, Woodman was able to hit the monkey from 67 yards away with a tranquilizer dart. Fortunately, this simian wasn't as slippery as Cornelius. The monkey didn't sustain any injuries and is being tested for diseases.
Before your heart gets broken at Valentine, a wild monkey being captured, Woodman says he shouldn't be anywhere in the wild in Florida in the first place.
"Just like the pythons, we don't want monkeys running around either. Monkeys are probably a little bit more cuddly in peoples imagination but they're not cuddly in reality," Woodman said
Yates will bring Valentine back to his wildlife rescue while he makes calls to find him a permanent home. The monkey just doesn't have any business...here.