Baboons Escape Research Center With Barrel Used As A Ladder

Credit PA

Four baboons are back in an enclosure after escaping briefly from a San Antonio medical research center. "I mean, they're really key to those advances in biomedical research".

For those anxious about how exactly they captured the naughty baboons, John Bernal, DVM, attending veterinarian at SNPRC, explains.

The center has about 2,900 nonhuman primates - 1,100 of them baboons - used in research on chronic and infectious diseases.

The study institute is now home to more than 2,500 creatures.

Resident Dorian Reyna, who captured video of workers chasing baboons down Military Drive before joining the pursuit, said in a Facebook post that he had been concerned at first seeing "people in scrubs and face masks chasing a baboon".

"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", explained Dr. Bernal.

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.

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The enclosure had been outfitted with 55-gallon barrels, which were meant to be used as an "enrichment tool" to help the animals mimic foraging behaviors, the laboratory said in a statement.

Lisa Cruz, TBRI's assistant vice president for communications, called the baboons' escape a "truly a unique incident".

The four baboons found one of the barrels closest to the wall of the enclosure so they could use it as a step up to the top of the wall of the enclosure, where they could make their escape. The institute added, "We have almost 1100 baboons on the property that date back eight generations".

Needless to say, the barrels have now been taken out of the enclosure after they managed to move them into a position to get over the fence.

The baboons as the Texas facility have all been born and bred at the location, the latest in a series of eight generations over the last half century.

'Baboons, as with all our animals, are critical to biomedical research'.

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