Monkey dubbed Ninja Joe breaks out of research breeding lab to find love

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    A research monkey has escaped from a laboratory breeding facility and is now prowling the surrounding area looking for love.

    The vervet monkey known as Ninja Joe has been seen by locals in the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida, US.

    According to Doctor Missy Williams, founder of the Dania Beach Vervet project, Ninja Joe is looking for a girlfriend.

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    Each time Joe is spotted, Dr. Williams and her team head to the scene to track him down, but each time he escapes them.

    Speaking to 7News, Dr Williams explained: "He left his needle group, and he's currently out searching for love in Fort Lauderdale, not knowing that there are limited choices out there, so we're rooting for him.

    "I would argue that most people in the dating pool in South Florida would agree, regardless of what species, the dating pool is limited."

    Ninja Joe has begun the search for love after reaching sexual maturity – typically around the age of five for vervet monkeys.

    Dr Williams has been fielding tips all week in hopes of tracking down the elusive Ninja Joe. Around the age of five, male vervet monkeys become sexually mature and start the search for a girlfriend.

    "What we're having is classic male behaviour," explained Dr Williams.

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    “So, when an adult vervet reaches about the age of five, sexual maturity kicks in, and at that point, these males will leave their social groups, and they're out looking to find love, so to speak."

    But since his species is not native to Florida and actually hails from Africa, Joe might struggle to find a suitable mate.

    Dr Williams founded the Dania Beach Vervet Project in 2016. It aims to merge animal welfare and conservation, promoting awareness and encouraging peaceful co-existence of human-wildlife interactions for the free-ranging vervet monkeys in Dania Beach.

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    She explained the monkey's origin story makes some in Florida feel proud of their primate neighbours. She said: "It's a very cool story, a very, very, cool story. It's a Florida story.

    "The locals love the monkeys, and the Dania Beach community is actually proud to say, 'Hey, guess what: we have wild monkeys right here in our state'."

    Anyone who spots Ninja Joe on his quest for love is advised to refrain from chasing him and to instead message the Dania Beach Vervet Project either on Facebook or through its website with the location he was seen.

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    • United States
    • Monkeys
    • Animals
    • In the News

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