For three years, he was
mysteriously spotted all around the Tampa Bay area. People would see our
so-called "Mystery Monkey" leaping from tree to tree – and in each
sighting he would somehow get away.
For much of those
years, he alluded police, avoided dart guns and baffled wildlife officials,
making his name known around the world. He was an Internet sensation.
Until that final mistake in October 2012, when he jumped on the back of a St. Petersburg woman, biting and scratching her. There was an extensive search and capture, and he was eventually brought to Wild Things in Dade City, where he spends his days now.
But trainers say for the Mystery Monkey, it's a blessing.
Randy Sterns, president of Wild Things, said this monkey is no longer a mystery. His name is Cornelius. He loves peanuts, and he's looking for love.
"It's kind of hard because he's a macaque - a rhesus macaque, and they aren't as popular as say a chimpanzee that are in the movies - so a lot of people don't have them," he said. "So it's hard to find them."
He's not alone in his now-quiet life.
Wild Things is best known for taking in rescues and tough animal adoptions. He has neighbors. There's Hank the zebra and Tony and Bella – both year-old tigers.
According to his trainers, Cornelius still dreams of his days dangling down on us.
"The Tampa Bay area is nice, has Ybor and Channelside for the younger crowd, but he's older now - there's a lot less traffic. He's pretty happy here," Sterns said.
A year later, while many here may miss our perky primate, he's moved on, but at least we now know exactly where our Mystery Monkey is spending his days.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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