Baboons use barrel to escape Texas research facility, officials say

Kenny Tucker
April 17, 2018

Four baboons imprisoned within a Texas animal research centre tasted freedom for a brief time after they succeeded in making a daring escape. "We have been fond for re-search baboons for at least 50 years". "Our animal capture team and the entire animal care team acted diligently and followed protocol to locate, secure and account for the baboons".

A press release put out by the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Southwest National Primate Research Center explains how they managed it. "I meanthat they are really key to those developments in biomedical analysis" Dr. John Bernal told News 4 Sanantonio.

Three of the baboons were captured within 20 and 30 minutes, but not before drivers took pictures and video of the cavorting creatures.

The baboons that escaped were reportedly not part of any infectious disease research or active study.

Researchers said in a statement that the baboons were given the barrels as an "enrichment tool" that would help them mimic foraging as they would in the wild.

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The animals propped up barrels against the walls of their home and used them to jump over the fence before escaping the centre perimeter entirely.

"Our team was ensuring the baboon was not hurt by traffic on Military Drive". Upon noticing the animals on top of the enclosure, our animal care team immediately removed the barrels from the enclosure and alerted the animal capture team.

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. The facility's assistant vice president of communications, Lisa Cruz said it was a "truly unique incident".

She said baboons were "critical to biomedical research", adding that "Baboons, in particular, have played an important role in the discovery of life-saving drugs, therapies and vaccines and have led to greater understanding of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and so much more that impact the lives of millions of people".

The biomedical research institute says the animals were never a medical danger to the public, and the care and capture teams that dealt with the situation wore protective gear less for their own sake than for the baboons'.

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