Florida is Home to Over 1,000 Rhesus Monkeys Infected With Herpes

Posted on September 14, 2013

A New York Post story has the headline, "Herpes-infected monkeys terrorize Florida." The article says over a thousand wild Rhesus monkeys, some infected with the deadly Herpes B virus, are now roaming the state of Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) does list the Rhesus monkey as a nonnative mammal in Florida. It says, "Individuals can be aggressive to humans and pose potentially serious hazards due to transmission of diseases to humans, including the simian herpes B virus."

The Rhesus monkey problem can be blamed on Colonel Tooey. Here's what happened: The New York Post reports that state officials have captured 700 Rhesus monkeys in the past ten years. Most of them have tested positive for the Herpes B virus, a neurotropic virus which can be fatal in humans.

Captain Tom O'Lenick, the current Silver River tour operator, defends the actions Colonel Tooey took decades ago. O'Lenick told the New York Post, "From my point of view, as a naturalist, I think the planet changes naturally and species do move around, whether that is by man or other means."