Baboons use barrel to escape from Texas research facility

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

The centre's 1,400 baboons have access to a walled enclosure containing a selection of "enrichment tools" to keep them stimulated, including 55-gallon barrels.

Four baboons are back in an enclosure after escaping briefly from a San Antonio medical research center. It required 30 minutes to fasten the baboons. A fourth was believed to have been on the loose but a head count determined it returned to the enclosure immediately.

"The animal care team held two of the three baboons to the tree line, while members of the animal capture team followed one baboon along the street and used verbal and hand signaling commands to corral the baboon to the tree line for its safety and efficient capture".

Eyewitness Janelle Bouton was on her way to the local supermarket when she saw the incident unfold. Bouton said, "They didn't want [one of the baboons] to get hurt because they were trying their best to quarantine him, but being that kind of animal, he wasn't having it".

"The baboon stopped at one point and he was just looking, and then it darted into the bushes and these guys are frazzled and they are freaking out", Ms Bouton told KSAT-TV.

The baboon's home is part of the Southwest National Primate Research Centre and it has been in use for 35 years. Scientists use the animals in research on new vaccines and medicines, said.

"The baboons are housed in an open air enclosure that is surrounded by perimeter walls that fold inward to preclude the animals from jumping out".

The baboons perform with all the enrichment barrels inside their six-acre pencil to mimic foraging behaviour, the study facility said in a news release.

None of the baboons were hurt during the escape, according to the station.

"This was truly a unique incident", Lisa Cruz, assistant vice-president for communications, reportedly said. The institute added, "We have almost 1100 baboons on the property that date back eight generations".

A group of monkeys escaped a chronic and infectious disease facility on Saturday. Our animal capture team and entire animal care team acted diligently to locate, secure and account for all four baboons.