Trapper can no longer sell Silver Springs wild monkeys to labs
MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WFTV) -- Officials say a trapper will no longer be allowed to snare wild monkeys from a Marion County state park and sell them to research laboratories.
A Department of Environmental Protection spokesman told the Tampa Bay Times the agency is looking for other ways to deal with the invasive species at Silver Springs State Park.
Trapper Scott Cheslak has captured about 700 of the rhesus macaques monkeys with permission over the past decade. The state initially issued Cheslak a permit to catch the animals, who then sells them for medical research. But now he'll no longer be working as a trapper for the park, which was taken over by the state at the beginning of October.
The monkeys are a popular site for tourists who visit. They have been in the area since the 1930s, though no one is certain exactly how they arrived.
State officials worry the monkeys could pose a health threat to humans because most of the ones Cheslak has captured tested positive for herpes-B, which can be fatal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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