St. Petersburg, Florida -- A trapper trying to help officials catch an elusive monkey that's been on the lam for over a year is now getting death threats.
"I've had two different phone calls so far (from people) telling me if I kill the monkey that they're going to kill me," Vernon Yates of Wildlife Rescue and Rehab told 10 Connects.
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Yates says people have the misconception officials are trying to kill the male rhesus macaque that's been spotted dozens of times in the Bay area in recent months.
"Absolutely in no way, shape or form do I want any harm to come to the monkey," Yates said. "I want to remove him from the environment before there is harm to him."
In fact, the longer the monkey continues roaming the Bay area, the greater the chance something bad will happen to the animal according to Yates and other wildlife officials.
"The monkey could be hit by a car, it could cause a traffic accident, it could get into power lines and get electrocuted and cause other problems. It could attack someone or somebody could shoot it and then public uproar there would be something else," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Gary Morse said.
Officials are also urging the public not to try feeding the monkey, noting rhesus macaques have been know to carry
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Preston Rudie, 10 Connects