Feral rhesus macaque monkeys capable of spreading deadly herpes are growing in population, and Florida state wildlife experts are very concerned.
The University of Florida, professor of wild ecology, Steve Johnson said, it’s very concerning because the monkeys are wreaking the environment by gorging on quail eggs and over 50 species of plants.
The primate population in Silver Springs State Park has exploded to more than 1,000 statewide.
What’s troubling is that thirty percent of the primates carry the herpes-B virus in their saliva and other bodily fluids. All it takes is one bite for the disease to be transmitted.
Two years ago, a monkey infected a Japanese scientist with herpes-B, putting the lab worker in critical condition. In short, the virus is highly deadly to humans.
The macaques were introduced to the sunshine state’s Silver Springs State Park in the 1930s by an enterprising tour guide named Colonel Tooey.
He took inspiration from the Tarzan films and wanted to increase tour attendance.
Tooey released six primates as tourist attractions to an island in a Central Florida island, where they have thrived ever since.
The monkey population, which was 1,000+, is set to double by next year, 2022.
Wildlife managers have not offered any solutions on how to take care of the growing problem.
“They’re like feral cats or hogs,” Johnson warned. “They were brought here by people. They’re not even supposed to be here.”