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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Dabb

The Monkeys Return to Monkey Island: A Triumph of Renewal and Resilience

Updated: May 9

In a momentous occasion for nature enthusiasts and locals alike, the monkeys have finally returned to Monkey Island, marking a triumphant chapter in the island's storied history. This cherished sanctuary, nestled within the tranquil waters of the Homosassa River, has been a source of fascination and delight for generations. Yet, its journey to this moment of restoration was not without its challenges.

A Troublesome Past:

Monkey Island's origins can be traced back to the mid-1900s when it was inadvertently created by a dragline operator under the direction of G.A. "Furgy" Furgason. What began as a solution to a troublesome pile of rocks submerged in the river soon became a refuge for a group of mischievous monkeys. These primates, brought to America by Dr. John N. Hamlet for medical research aimed at perfecting the polio vaccine, found themselves causing havoc on the mainland.

The Havoc Unleashed:

The monkeys' antics on the mainland were nothing short of legendary. From escaping and venturing into visitors' cars to pilfering candy and playfully interacting with tourists, their mischievous behavior knew no bounds. Reports abound of startled visitors finding monkeys perched atop their vehicles, their innocent faces masked by guilty expressions as they indulged in stolen treats.

Local businesses also felt the impact of the monkeys' escapades, with reports of stolen merchandise and disrupted operations becoming all too common. Despite their small stature, these clever creatures proved to be quite the handful, leaving a trail of chaos in their wake.

The Monkeys Today:

Today, Monkey Island is home to five spider monkeys: Ralph, Sassy, their daughter Ebony, Eve, and Emily. Ralph, Sassy, and Ebony are part of the original group placed on the island by Furgy, while Eve and Emily joined later. Despite the challenges they've faced, these resilient primates continue to thrive under the care of the Homosassa Riverside Resort.

Welcome Home:

As Monkey Island undergoes a remarkable transformation under the stewardship of the resort's new owners, the monkeys have been eagerly welcomed back to their upgraded home. With air-conditioned quarters, fresh water, new toys, and even a monkey cam, their habitat promises to provide them with the comfort and enrichment they deserve.


The return of the monkeys to Monkey Island is not just a cause for celebration but a testament to the enduring bond between humans and animals. Thanks to the dedication of individuals like Furgy, Dr. Hamlet, and the caring staff at the Homosassa Riverside Resort, Monkey Island continues to inspire wonder and awe in all who visit.

As we witness the monkeys swing from branch to branch and frolic in their revitalized surroundings, let us reflect on the resilience of nature and the power of renewal. Welcome home, dear friends. May your island sanctuary be a place of joy, peace, and endless adventure for years to come.

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