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Elusive Fla. monkey a big hit on Facebook

Associated Press / March 25, 2010

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In the hours after a monkey on the lam fell into a woman’s pool and then swiped some fruit from her backyard tree, fans of the wily primate cheered it for avoiding capture.

“Go little monkey, go! No cages for you,’’ wrote a guy named Jack on the “Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay’’ Facebook fan page. (There were more than 21,000 fans of the elusive monkey as of yesterday morning.)

“I sure hope ‘they’ don’t catch you!’’ wrote a woman named Kathleen. “Why can’t ‘they’ just leave you alone?’’

Why, indeed?

The rhesus macaque monkey has avoided capture for nearly a year. Authorities do not know where the animal came from, but some believe it could have become separated from a troupe of wild monkeys in an Ocala-area state park, about 118 miles north of St. Petersburg. Another possibility: The animal could have escaped from an owner who doesn’t have a permit and is therefore not registered with authorities.