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Small monkey spotted at shopping center in Hallandale Beach

Wild animals have been seen across South Florida in recent weeks

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – A group of pilots getting coffee Thursday at the Diplomat Shopping Center in Hallandale Beach spotted a monkey on the loose -- one of a number of monkey sightings in South Florida in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, the Aventura Police Department received several calls about a similar monkey in the area.

Last month, the monkeys were spotted in North Miami Beach and Cooper City.

Wildlife experts said the monkeys are from Dania Beach and are African vervet monkeys, which have been making unexpected appearances all over South Florida

It's unclear how many exist, but Missy Williams, with the Dania Beach Vervet Project, said although they don't pose a dangerous threat to public safety, it's important to use caution around the animals.

"It is illegal to feed (the monkeys) in the state of Florida, so any wild, free-ranging primates you may not feed, and we ask that you do not approach the animals," she said. "They're not harmful, they're not aggressive, but just for the safety of the animal and the people, we ask you don't approach them."