Tampa Bay's mystery monkey bites woman on back

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Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:28 am

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Wildlife officials say the mystery monkey of Tampa Bay bit a woman during an "unprovoked attack" in St. Petersburg.

Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesman Gary Morse says the woman was sitting outside in the area of Boyd Hill Nature Park Tuesday when the monkey bit her on the back.

The wild rhesus macaque has become famous in the Tampa Bay area. It has a Facebook page and its plight has been featured on Comedy Central's Colbert Report. The elusive monkey has been spotted numerous times in the Tampa Bay area in recent years.

Jeff Seilbach is a neighbor of the woman who was attacked, and says it was just a matter of time. "You should see my neighbor's back. The bite marks and claw marks. It just shows you what this animal is capable of," says Seilbach. 

10 News (WTSP) spoke with the family involved in the attack. They wouldn't go on camera, but the daughter of the victim says, "The monkey is not afraid of people, so I don't go outside very often. I don't trust the monkey."

Neighbor Jeff agrees. Just a few months ago, wildlife officials urged the public not to feed the monkey, fearing he would become dependant on humans for food, becoming aggressive, and that's exactly what's happened.

"He gets up in my tree and starts shaking it because he wants to be fed. If you don't feed him, he cops an attitude," says Seilbach.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has issued this statement tonight: "FWC's concern is for the woman who was bitten and the animal. In order to bring this to its best possible conclusion, we need the cooperation of everyone in staying away from the area so that we can do our job."

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