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Scientists Allege a TikTok Famous Monkey Was Stolen From the Wild in Florida — And Not Rescued From a Lab, as His Influencer Owner Claims The "Thabo and Ray" TikTok account has over 3.1 million followers.

By Emily Rella

A TikTok famous monkey is in the crosshairs of controversy after scientists in Florida claimed that the primate was stolen from a colony — and not rescued from a lab as his owner alleges.

The account, called Thabo and Ray, features 31-year-old influencer Kim Raymond Feaste and his monkey, Thabo, on daily adventures in the car, in stores, and out in nature. The duo has garnered over 3.4 million followers and 133.1 million likes on the platform.


♬ walking on a dream by empire of the sun - sophie

Feaste claims that he rescued Thabo after the monkey's mother was killed in a Las Vegas lab. But Florida Atlantic University adjunct professor Dr. Deborah "Missy" Williams told local outlet the Sun Sentinel that she does not think that's the case — and now she's taking it up with animal rights organizations in the state.

Williams is alleging that Feaste took the monkey from a colony in Dania Beach, Florida, which is located near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The colony has around 40 monkeys, though they are not tracked. It's believed that infants have a 50% mortality rate. The monkeys have roamed the area since the 1940s after being brought to the state from West Africa.

Related: HelloFresh Drops Thai Coconut Milk Due to Monkey Labor

"I'm concerned for the welfare of the monkey because I know he's not being properly taken care of," Williams told the Sun Sentinel. "[Monkeys] need lots of mental enrichment, healthy appetite, those types of things. And I'm concerned that if he's going to have developed this pattern of biting, he will be considered a public danger, which could result in the animal being euthanized."

Williams says a lab would not willingly give a monkey away to a good samaritan, and would euthanize it instead.

Williams is convinced the monkey was taken from the Dania Beach troop, and renowned primatologist Bob Ingersoll agrees, according to the outlet. Other experts are divided.

Michelle Sinnott, PETA's director of captive animal law enforcement, doesn't believe Thabo was recused from a lab or taken from the wild. She thinks he was purchased from a breeder, instead.

Feaste, meanwhile, vehemently denies the claims, and has fired back in several TikTok videos calling Williams a "stalker" and accusing her of trying to put his and Thabo's "safety in jeopardy."

"My monkey has been well taken care of," Feaste told the Sentinel. "We live in mansions and have lots of money and live a good life."


Debroah Missy Williams (aka Dr. Missy Williams) has been stalking me, threatening my life, swatting me, paying people to stalk me, doxing me, slandering my name and much more. PLEASE SEND THIS TO FBI

♬ original sound - ??♂️? Thabo and Ray

Williams has primarily filed complaints with police all around the country and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"Williams advised that there are videos on the Social Media Site [TikTok] of Kim Raymond Feaste having a Green Vervet Monkey," an October 2023 report filed with the Pulaski County, Arkansas police department states, after Williams alleged that Feaste and Thabo would be traveling through the area. "Williams stated she believes the primate was stolen from a sanctuary in Ft Lauderdale Florida approximately 4 years ago."

In March, Williams emailed the Florida Wildlife Conservation clips of Thabo that she claimed came from a private investigator she hired to track down Feaste and Thabo.

Related: TikTok Video Goes Viral After 'Surprise Me' Trend Goes Wrong

The only way to find out Thabo's true origin is to get his DNA tested, but it doesn't look like Feaste nor Williams will be able to do so any time soon.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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