See monkey run, see monkey get caught. A 40-pound rhesus macaque dubbed the “Mystery Monkey” was finally caught Wednesday inTampa Bay, Fla. after three years on the loose.
The improbably famous primate, who has his own Facebook page and has even been profiled by Stephen Colbert, had been regularly spotted in the Tampa Bay area since 2009. Though no one definitively knew where the monkey came from, it is thought he might be from a monkey colony in Silver Springs, residents of which were used in Tarzan movies.
In a rather epic showdown, wildlife officials managed to trap the monkey after a five-hour stakeout waiting for the animal to approach. They managed to shoot the monkey with a tranquilizer dart, but the creature still made a run for it. What followed was a short, adrenaline-filled chase before officials managed to nab the macaque and place it in a cage.
The search for the monkey began intensifying after he bit a 60-year-old woman earlier this month in the city of St. Petersburg. The Tampa Bay Online reports that residents had begun to feed the creature, spurring its aggressive behavior. Over the past three years the search for the animal has ranged across three counties.
According to NPR, after being caught by authorities, the monkey was given a real name: it’s been called Cornelius, after one of the characters in the sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have placed him with a veterinarian for observation.
Still, Vernon Yates, who was part of the team that caught Cornelius, admires the monkey’s gumption. ”In some ways I’ll give him credit,” he told CBS News. ”This is one of the most intelligent monkeys that I think I have ever seen.”