Wild Monkey Spotted in Florida Prompting Police to Warn Residents Against Feeding the Animal

The Orange City Police Department shared an image of a wild rhesus macaque monkey climbing through a neighborhood on Facebook

The Orange City Police Department in Florida has received "multiple calls" from locals about wild monkey sightings this week, and it's not a bunch of monkey business.

According to police, a wild rhesus macaque monkey has been roaming around Orange City, Florida, and the department is working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regarding the recent sightings.

"If you come in contact with a monkey, please contact FWC for further assistance," police wrote on Facebook, later sharing an image of the monkey out and about.

In the photo, the small brown animal can be seen sitting on a green fence in what appears to be a backyard. The authorities encouraged locals to "not feed or attempt to capture these monkeys."

Related: The Saint Louis Zoo Introduces Pumpkin Orange Langur Monkey Baby in Time for Halloween

The Orange City Police Department also shared a brochure from the FWC to Facebook, which notes that Florida's "core population" of rhesus monkeys resides around the Silver River in Central Florida and that "transient individuals have been reported outside of the core area." The brochure adds that the monkeys, native to Asia, originally arrived in Florida in the 1930s as part of a tourist attraction but quickly escaped once they got stateside.

Feeding the monkeys, which weigh around 15 pounds according to the brochure, comes with a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail.

Locals are encouraged to "take a photo from a safe distance," note the animal's location, and call the FWC's Exotic Species Hotline.

The Orange City Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for an update on the monkey's whereabouts.

"The sightings began like a week ago, but we haven't been able to actually locate it," Lt. Sherif El-Shami told the Daytona Beach News-Journal about the monkey.

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"Every time we get a new sighting, it's somewhere different," he added, noting that the monkey is gone whenever police arrive at the scene.

"The biggest message we'd like residents to heed is that it could be very dangerous," El-Shami said. "Don't feed it. Don't pet it. It's not your average animal at the zoo."

According to NBC News, rhesus monkeys in Florida have tested positive for herpes B. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the rare infection could cause severe brain damage or death if not immediately treated.

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In other monkey news, back in April, a baby Dusky langur found a new home at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WWFT) rescue center after being abandoned by his family.

Plango, the bright-orange baby monkey, was found alone at a rubber plantation in Thailand before WWFT took him to its wildlife hospital. He was then "expected to make a full recovery."

"Pictures of Plango highlight his bright orange fur, which will gradually darken with age," WFFT wrote at the time.

"Wildlife experts have various reasons as to why an infant Dusky langur's fur is so bright. Some suggest that the coloring helps mothers easily locate their young, while others argue that it's a form of camouflage. Another theory proposes that it helps to identify the infant within the group, which encourages alloparenting — a form of parental care that sees different members of the group look after the young," the foundation added.

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