Eben Kirksey is a permanent faculty member in Environmental Humanities at UNSW Australia and a Visiting Research Scholar at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the editor of The Multispecies Salon and the author of Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power, both also published by Duke University Press.
Florida is home to free-ranging rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). This chapter follows these wild animals from the national mediascape to the state legislature, from suburban enclaves and animal rescue facilities to Silver Springs State Park. Upward of 130 monkeys live along the Silver River, near Ocala, Florida, which was the backdrop for the original Tarzan films. Integrating the theories and methods of multispecies ethnography and ethnoprimatology, a team of collaborators studied human-monkey interactions. Contagious excitement and infectious fears jump across species boundaries during wild encounters. Amid situations of heightened risk and danger, concerned citizens are cultivating quiet forms of wildness, instructing casual visitors about interspecies politeness and tact. Monkey advocates and legions of online activists are defending the autonomy of these primates. Animal supporters have blocked state officials who tried to remove these monkeys from Florida. For now, they have been left free to roam in the wild.