As departing jetliners move ahead, an ageing vervet monkey decides to mop on a mangrove branch. It happened recently in the woods where the monkey lives near a South Florida airport. Well, it seems like the ego he had was hurt. Mikey is the name of the monkey that his human observers give. It had long been the laid-back alpha male of a troop of monkeys. It seems like they rule this tract of land, tucked off a busy runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. However, in a recent incident, he was challenged by an aggressive youngster called Spike.
He started screaming and was now having the attention of many. “Did you have a bad day?” asked Deborah “Missy” Williams, a Lynn University science professor. She has been studying the troop since 2014 and is also the founder of the Dania Beach Vervet Project. She works to preserve the individual colony. “We will leave you alone so you can ponder.” The United States is not so famous for the native monkeys. However, the smallish vervets have been roaming Dania Beach since the late 1940s. As per the reports, few of them were brought from West Africa.
Monkeys making airport their home:
Currently, 40 Descendants are broken into four troops. They live within 1,500 acres (600 hectares) around the airport area. Florida wildlife officials often deal with species to protect native animals. However, these monkeys are local celebrities. Their stories are usually detailed on TV and in newspapers, and among popular visitors. “My friends are like, ‘You have monkeys at your job?” laughed airport parking lot attendant Harlen Caldera. It is common for travellers to be often left surprised to see a lot of monkeys around the airport. Vervets are grey and black with a greenish tinge, helping them blend into the trees.
According to the sources, these monkeys live for around 20 years. Well, Caldera and her coworkers are protective of the monkeys. They make sure that no one harms them are trying to catch them. “You never know what people will do,” she added. Williams began studying them while doing doctoral work at Florida Atlantic University. “They quickly learn to adapt to a human diet — they love sugary things and salty things,” she said. Adding to it, she said that they tolerate human food well. Monkeys are an invasive species, so officials put tight restrictions on how Williams’ group can help them. The monkeys who are trapped cannot be released. They should be euthanized or placed into captivity.
Some other details:
Williams is someone who does not believe that monkeys should be pets. She does not provide or seek any veterinary care for them as she hopes that nature will treat them automatically. But her group is building an enclosure for vervets. They are looking for the treatment of monkeys because they wandered too far. Williams wants Florida to allow the release of captured ones. “The monkeys’ lives matter regardless if they are nonnative or native,” she said. “All options should be exhausted to avoid euthanasia.”
“There is also an inherent risk of injury when handling wildlife. Monkeys can act defensively and may bite or scratch. Officials said that mammals, including vervet monkeys, may harbor diseases transmissible to humans, including rabies,” officials said. As darkness comes near, the troop decides to move from the mangroves into the airport parking lot. Spike and Mikey again had a brawl before the people separated them.
The head of the troop and his would-be heir then sat, having a bit of distance between them. After getting fed by the people around the airport areas, the monkeys again climbed back to the trees. They spent another night in the area in their unexpected realm. They did not get affected due to the loud metallic birds flying above.