The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Monkey Still On The Loose In Tampa.

In a recent article, the authorities had checked with the nearby zoo, which ended with all monkeys accounted for. Perhaps they should check with the USDA Exhibitors (entertainment and pseudo sanctuaries) in the area to see if their inventory is correct.


TAMPA - James McMullen was sitting on his patio, like always, enjoying his morning coffee when he saw what he thought was a big cat in a backyard tree.

"I said to myself, 'Man, that is a big cat.' "

So he walked toward it.

When he got closer, he realized it wasn't a cat.

"It was a monkey," he says. "It was orangey blonde in color. A fair size. When it was on all fours, it was about 18 inches tall. If he stood up, he would be about 3 feet tall."

The sighting, McMullen said, "was baffling."

He hasn't been following media reports about a stealthy simian whose scampered from East Tampa to Linebaugh Avenue and now, apparently, through the tall oaks in his backyard in northwest Hillsborough.

"I didn't believe I was seeing a monkey in my backyard," he said. It wasn't until later, when he talked to his mother, Barbara, that he realized that what he spotted may be the object of an area-wide monkey/goose hunt.

McMullen, who lives at 13444 Bellingham Drive, said he ran into his house to get his cell phone, which has a camera, but by the time he got out, the animal was gone, heading toward the Tampa Jewish Community Center, which backs up to his yard.

Because the community center has a day care, McMullen says he alerted the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the center.

After receiving McMullen's call, day care officials searched the 25-acre grounds. Although they couldn't find the animal, they are not allowing the facility's 200 to go outside today, said Peter Paternacki, the center's director of operations.

"We sent out our troops to look for the monkey, or primate," Paternacki said. "But we didn't find him. Two sheriff's deputies showed up, and they couldn't find him either."

The sheriff's office called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

The commission is not sending anyone to look for the animal, spokesman Gary Morse said.

"There are several reasons why," Morse said. "The monkey is moving around and not a threat as long as people don't approach or feed it. And it is not in an area that is conducive for its capture."

It would be hard to find a tranquilizer dart that was fired and missed, Morse said. The darts contain dangerous drugs. Also, if the animal were darted and ran into traffic, that would present other problems.

"Right now, we are playing a wait-and-see game," Morse said. "As long as he is not threatening people, is avoiding people and in an area that is difficult for his capture, we are going to bide our time."

The animal, Morse said, is likely the same macaque that was seen in East Tampa last week, on Linebaugh Avenue this week and perhaps in Clearwater a few months ago.

"There are not a lot of these animals out there," he said.

Strangely enough, McMullen said his mother may have spotted the animal this morning while driving to his house, which is near Gunn Highway and the Veterans Expressway.

"My mother thinks she saw him run across Sheldon Road," he said. "She described it as having an orangey color."

For the second time this morning, McMullen said was shocked.

"That was him," he said he told his mother.

Tribune editor Howard Altman can be reached at (813) 259-7629.


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