Talk about invasive species in South Florida, I found some feral vervet monkeys in Dania Beach. There are two colonies in Ft Lauderdale/Dania Beach area. But I only saw two of these guys. They live behind Motel 6. Seriously))) There is a huge mangrove forest behind the motel. That's where they stay most of the time. However, they come out to the motel parking lot to get some food from local people.
I spotted this vervet monkey within 5 minutes of getting there. They came out and sat on the fence, waiting for food. You really are not suppose to feed them, but this French tourist of Canada threw gave him an apple.
These vervet monkey had escaped the primate farm in 1950's. The Anthropoid Ape Research Foundation was importing and breeding all sorts of monkeys and apes for medical research. Local legend states, that they were kept in horrible conditions without any regard for their well being. Most of them were destined to be victims of all sorts of medical experiments. So a few lucky vervet monkeys had escaped and managed to form a colony in Dania Beach.
The guy working at Motel 6 told us that there used to be 25 monkeys in this area. However, now only one pair shows up. Nobody knows whether the colony had died down or if they simply stay in mangroves now.
According to the research published on these monkeys, they have almost no impact on local ecosystem. The colonies have not grown at all. So, it's safe to say that they are pretty harmless, as far as invasive species go. Still, I am kind of conflicted, as I really don't like seeing invasives.
No monkey sighting can be without some selfies))) This guy was pretty chill and let take some photos while he was enjoying his apple. He did not seem aggressive at all.
Here is me with a vervet monkey)))
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