If you find yourself lounging on the sands of Dania Beach, enjoying the sun and surf, you may not be alone. While other human beachgoers are common, you’re likely to find more than just tourists at this beach. Florida's Dania Beach has been home to a population of wild African Vervet monkeys since the 1950s, and while they’re not native to the state, there have been extensive conservation efforts to keep the population safe from trappers.
The colony has been a little-known aspect of Florida, and there was even talk that the population had been dying out a few years ago. However, current research studies have proven that the monkeys are indeed thriving, and if you know where to look, you can even spot them yourself.
The monkeys were thought to have been released by a nearby tourist attraction called Chimp Farm in the ’50s, and since the Florida mangroves closely mimic their native habitat, the monkeys have been able to adapt and thrive since then.
Missy Williams, who works with the Dania Beach Vervet Project to educate the public on the monkeys and promote conservation, says the population seems to be doing well, and they are seeing offspring every year.
The monkeys do a good job of hiding within the mangroves from people, but outside surrounding motels, you can catch them cautiously taking bananas and other fruit that staff and visitors leave out for them.
So far, there have been no reports of aggression from the monkeys towards people.
For more Florida wildlife experiences, you can watch these adorable live cams from this big cat sanctuary, or take a hike over this suspension bridge over a lake of crocodiles.