Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 19th, 2009
It appears more certain that the animal being reported running around the Tampa, Florida area is a known species, indeed, a rather obvious one, based on these nearby Hillsborough sightings. In a new Tampa Tribune dispatch, the following news item gets to the bottom of the speculation as to what could be behind the sightings (all puns intended).
Eric Gonzalez and his wife, Tiffany, were driving on Linebaugh Avenue on Wednesday [November 18, 2009] afternoon when an animal darted in front of their 2007 Dodge Caravan.
“Look out for that dog,” Eric said his wife told him.
“But when it crossed in front of us, it was running at an alarming speed,” Gonzalez said. “As soon as it stood up on its back legs, I knew it wasn’t a dog.”
It was, he said, a baboon.
“It had a bald butt, the body was beige, the butt was pinkish,” Gonzalez said.
After the shock wore off, the couple called authorities.
It was the second call about the baboon deputies had received, according to Hillsborough sheriff’s office spokesman Larry McKinnon.
Gonzalez said he called in the baboon sighting because of concern for the neighborhood.
“We live in the area,” Gonzalez said. “My main concern was that this is a wild animal. We have a lot of kids in the area. There is a school right there and we do not want the kids to be curious and approach it. The animal, being wild, might turn around and attack one of the kids.”
McKinnon said the animal probably escaped from captivity.
“We suspect it was a large monkey or baboon that escaped from a house in the area,” McKinnon said. “We have had reports of this for a week.”
So far, deputies have not been able to find the animal, which was last seen shortly before 2 p.m. running behind a Hindu temple on Lynn Road.
It is possible this may be the same simian seen in Tampa last week, McKinnon said.
Last week, a resident reported seeing a monkey in East Tampa, hunkered down in a tree on Elm Street just south of Sligh Avenue, west of the Hillsborough River.
The article “Deputies get calls about baboon sightings,” by Howard Altman, November 19, 2009, carries a headline that identifies what the authorities believe is being seen.
File photo of a baboon, primates that are found in the Old World, not the New World.