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Monkeys near Florida airport delight visitors

DANIA BEACH, FLORIDA (AP) – As departing jetliners roared overhead, an ageng vervet monkey moped on a mangrove branch one recent afternoon in the woods he inhabits near a South Florida airport, his ego bruised.

Mikey, as he is called by his human observers, has long been the laid-back alpha male of a troop of monkeys ruling this tract of land, tucked off a busy runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. But this day he lost when challenged by a feisty youngster called Spike.

Mikey fled screaming and was now sullenly staring at humans watching him from 15 feet away.

“Did you have a bad day?” asked Lynn University science professor Deborah ‘Missy’ Williams who has been studying the troop and others nearby since 2014.

She is also founder of the Dania Beach Vervet Project, which seeks to preserve this unique colony. “We will leave you alone so you can ponder.”

The United States (US) has no native monkeys, but the smallish vervets have roamed Dania Beach since the late 1940s after a dozen brought from West Africa fled a now long-closed breeding facility and roadside zoo.

Siggy the monkey leaps in the Park ‘N Fly parking lot in Florida. PHOTO: AP