Mystery Monkey captured: FWC and trapper Vernon Yates joust over rhesus macaque's future

6:40 PM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
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Seminole, Florida - The Mystery Monkey, sedated and caught on Wednesday, is eating bananas Thursday at a wildlife rescue in Seminole. But the rhesus macaque that recently garnered so much TV time, is now being sheltered from cameras by caretaker Vernon Yates.  Yates says the monkey needs some time to just chill out.

Photo Gallery: Pictures of the monkey on the loose
More Pictures: First pics of the monkey in captivity

"He's in an enclosure that's next to a bunch of other monkeys, so he's got monkeys all around him to see. So I'm sure it's a shock to him, but he's doing fine," says Yates.

But even while the tranquilized monkey dozed off Wednesday at the vets office, a new controversy surrounding it awakened. Yates and state wildlife officials disagree about who captures the credit for the capture.

"(This was) FWC's operation," says FWC Officer Baryl Martin.

"I'm the one who pursued him, I'm the one who captured him," counters Yates. "It was my vet who darted him."

And there's also disagreement over who gets to choose the monkey's next home. While FWC says they'll consult with Yates, agency officials say the state gets the final say.

"Finding a permanent, safe, nurturing home for this animal is our primary concern in this case," says Martin.

Martin says several facilities have expressed interest in obtaining the monkey and Yates says one of those is Dade City's Wild Things. A 10 News call to Wild Things was not returned on Thursday.

Bottom line for Yates, he wants the monkey's new home to keep and care for him until the very end of his monkeyshines.

"That's all I want for him, is to be with one or two females and just be left alone."

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